Department of Accounting Critical Reading Group

Birmingham Business School, Margery Fry Room
Tuesday 14 March 2017 (13:00-15:00)

Helen Coursey:

Please join us for the second session of the Department of Accounting Critical Reading Group. We will continue with our initial focus on corruption, which serves as an anchor for discussing some of the big questions that arise from the critical accounting literature.

These discussions cover, but are not limited to, the organising of the decentralised neoliberal society; the construction of the self-regulating calculating self; enacting disciplinary power and control at a distance from powerful centres; and, the operationalising of new markets.

We will be discussing two further papers in the special section on Debating Corruption in Critical Perspectives on Accounting (Vol. 28, Pages 1-102, May 2015). The two papers that will serve as the core of this session are:

Roberts, John. “The ‘subject’ of Corruption.” Critical Perspectives on Accounting 28 (May 2015): 82–88. doi:10.1016/

“The phantasies of omnipotence and absolute autonomy that animate corrupt subjectivity are further reinforced by subordinates who are too eager to win the recognition of the powerful, or at least too paranoid to overtly challenge their corrupt conduct. Far from the exception that advertises the norm, corruption can be seen as a norm of the conduct of the powerful, masked by the theatre of due process.” (Roberts 2015, p.82)

Sikka, Prem, and Glen Lehman. “The Supply-Side of Corruption and Limits to Preventing Corruption within Government Procurement and Constructing Ethical Subjects.” Critical Perspectives on Accounting 28 (May 2015): 62–70. doi:10.1016/

This paper argues that good internal controls in government departments, though highly desirable, are unlikely to make a significant dent in corrupt practices to secure government contracts. A major reason for this is the supply of corruption by corporations keen to secure lucrative contracts” (Sikka and Lehman 2015, p.62)

If you have an interest in joining this Critical Accounting Reading Group, would like to submit a comment or make a suggestion, are keen on following their work or would like to become a member of their Mailing List please contact  We look forward to hearing from you and discussing this important topic and more to follow in the coming months.

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