Postcoloniality in corporate social and environmental accountability

Chandana Alawattage* (Corresponding Author), Susith Fernando

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Using a discourse analysis of interviews with corporate managers and their published corporate sustainability information, this paper argues that corporate social and environmental accountability (CSEA) in a postcolonial context (Sri Lanka) is a textual space wherein local managers create a hybrid cultural identity through mimicking. It examines how local managers embrace and appropriate global discourses to reimagine their local managerial circumstances. They deploy a set of textual strategies – imitation, redefinition, innovation, and codification – to translate CSEA into a hybrid ‘textual(real)ity’ (i.e., interspace and duality between accounting text - textuality - and material practices - reality) whereby the global context is textualized as local and the local is contextualised as global. Nationalism, cultural ethics, and poverty enter this textual(real)ity as discursive elements that reactivate locality. A cultural notion of philanthropic giving, dana, gives local cultural authenticity to this textual(real)ity while the national politico-economic identity of poverty textualizes CSEA as a national development strategy. The paper also critiques whether these postcolonial dynamics can promote agonistic accountabilities. It contributes to the accounting literature on postcolonialism, imperialism, and globalization discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Early online date19 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • postcolonialism
  • social and environmental accountability
  • Sri Lanka
  • Homi Bhabha
  • agonistics
  • globalization discourses


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