Generally Ann-Christine's research interests focuses on accounting in practice and as a practice, on how accounting shapes strategy, in the area of accounting and strategy interplays. She particularly looks at accounting’s different knowledge forms, and how accounting in its various forms shapes our way of seeing and acting in everyday lives within different settings, such as health care, public transport, banking, investment companies, education and architecture.
Specifically Ann-Christine's research seeks to deepen our theoretical and practical understanding of accounting and its impacts across a wide range of fields, including accounting practice and accounting education, the ways in which accounting shapes both management and strategy in both private and public sector settings, and the relations between accounting and business history and our ways of thinking and acting in the present. Intellectually, her research therefore contributes to developing critically informed understandings of accounting, analysing it (i) as key valuing practice (and ‘space-time-value machine’): (ii) as actor shaping economic, managerial, institutional and personal thought and action; and (iii) as insufficiently understood form of communicating information and values.
In relation to (i) and (ii) above, her published work and ongoing papers investigate dimensions of how accounting, as value-machine and/or actor, circulates and translates monetary values across institutional settings, e.g. how nurses construct a ‘10-minute patient’ to manage their time, work, patients and managers: how bus drivers are re-made as ‘accounting-aware professionals’; and how changing ‘money of account’ assumptions re-shape bank architecture.
Ann-Christine's current and future research agenda investigates dimensions of accounting as 'space-time-value-machine' and 'actor'. In particular she researches, historically and in contemporary settings, how accounting enables truth-games where its forms of 'naming and counting' produce both objects of knowledge and 'objective' modes of valuing across financial and non-financial settings, from the constitution of 'money of account' to the valuing of assets, debts, capital, etc., to the measuring and valuing of human performance, labour and 'human capital'.
Ann-Christine is pursuing three related areas of research:
Pursuing prices: This research project studies how accounting today circulates and translates monetary values across institutional settings, through a field-based study of how skilled traders in financial markets think and act through 'prices' and 'pricing' in their trading practice, in a 'knowledge-world' which increasingly recognises that conventional price theories do not adequately explain or match trading practice. The research seeks to extend the scope of approaches to how experts think and act in knowledge worlds where sophisticated theorizing is integral to practice, and perhaps open a path to theorizing differently on prices and pricing within one such world.
Accounting as embodiment: This area builds on an approach to understanding the relation of embodiment to knowing and truth-telling as found in already-published work on translating accounting into music and dance. Picking up from approaches to the human as embodied subject and object (e.g. from Nietzsche, Merleau-Ponty and Foucault), the research constructs translations of accounting into other forms of embodiment, as in accounting as music and dance. It thereby seeks to challenge understandings of accounting purely as form of disembodied and/or visualist statement (e.g. text plus graphs) as well as to build connections to research and researchers in seemingly distinct and disparate disciplines. .
Accounting as statement: This research informs the more contemporary studies above by considering accounting from its inception five millennia before writing as first form of 'visible sign' statement. By re-thinking accounting before writing it seeks to open a more general way of understanding accounting's modes of constituting value statements in different eras, drawing on Foucault's analyses of the statement as both 'event' and 'thing'. It seeks thereby to bring into focus the discursive role of accounting (as statement) in constructing knowledge forms and truth-games, thus complementing approaches which have focussed on its role as practice in constructing knowledge-power relations. Again this may help open ways of reconceptualising what accounting is and has been, and how it relates to related practices and discourses such as management.