Category Archives: Postmodern

Pragmatic postmodernism and engagement through the culture of continuous creativity

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2018). Pragmatic postmodernism and engagement through the culture of continuous creativity. Accounting Education. doi:10.1080/09639284.2018.1471727

Abstract:  In order to engage students who have difficulty with the dominant world-view presented by accounting, or who have negative views of accounting, a different approach to teaching is required. We developed the concept of pragmatic postmodernism in the teaching of accounting to merge a postmodern teaching philosophy with the constraints and realities of teaching accounting. It represents an attempt to synthesise the individual learning needs of contemporary students who have difficulty accepting the dominant world-view of accounting with the constraints inherent in the resourcing, architecture and systems surrounding the teaching of accounting. The purpose of this research is to describe the thinking behind a pragmatic postmodern approach to the teaching of accounting. We provide examples of teaching approaches consistent with pragmatic postmodernism, that we have used successfully in our teaching to engage students who might otherwise be disengaged in their learning because of their rejection of the dominant world-view of accounting. In keeping with the philosophical underpinnings of postmodernism, we do not offer a magical panacea but an approach to thinking about teaching that seeks to prioritise the individual learning experience while remaining cognisant of the many constraints on the teaching of accounting.


Farewell my lovely: Can we resurrect accounting education research?

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2018). Farewell my lovely: Can we resurrect accounting education research? Paper presented at the British Accounting and Finance Association Accounting Education Special Interest Group Conference, Brighton, UK.

Abstract:   We examine the quality of published accounting education research and compare to the quality of the research in published general higher education journals.  We find that accounting education research compares poorly with general education research.  The reasons for this poor performance are associated with failures to address methodology (not method), to problematize the issues and to theorise the cases.  We propose modifying accounting education research to emulate research in general education.  We recognise that this is a difficult task due to the historically constructed power relationships with accounting education research, the cultural capital inherent in the dominant style of accounting education research and the habitus it has created.  We argue that the nature of accounting education research needs to change to end the symbolic violence inflicted on researchers and, through them, accounting students.

Money for nothing and chicks for free: Advertising the accountant

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2010). Money for nothing and chicks for free: Advertising the accountant. Paper presented at the 2nd World Accounting Frontiers Conference, Sydney.


Although we now recognise celebrity in such diverse areas as the celebrity trainer, celebrity chef and celebrity gardener, we are yet to see the rise of the celebrity accountant.  Previous research had described the accounting image as dull and boring.  This research looks at jokes about accountants to see whether that characterisation is true.  The accountant is stereotyped in jokes, and is much the same as the stock character of Il Dottore  in Commedia dell’arte, a form of improvised theatre developed in fifteenth century Italy and evident in the plays of Shakespeare and in modern day pantomime.  This research illustrates that the image of the accountant can only be viewed as one consistent with a  cautious professional dealing with financial matters, in a position of trust, and that the image portrayed in the stereotype is one that the accounting profession should continue to uphold because it masks the power of accountants to make choices that impact on profit and wealth.  Recent advertising by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and CPA Australia attempt to change that image to one more akin to the portrayal of a celebrity accountant.  However, if successful in altering the stereotype of the accountant, instead of benefiting the profession, this advertising could be detrimental to the profession.

Link to full paper

Link to 2nd World Accounting Frontiers Conference

All the world’s a stage: Accounting behind the fourth wall

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2011). All the world’s a stage: Accounting behind the fourth wall. Paper presented at the International Conference on Critical Accounting, New York.


The aim of this research is to enrich understanding of why the accounting profession appears to have been relatively unaffected by the global financial crisis, and why the global financial crisis has not prompted accounting to a closer examination of its raison d’être.  Drawing on the concept of the fourth wall, which is taken from dramatic theatre, a view of accounting in time of crisis is proposed.  The global financial crisis is portrayed as breaking through the fourth wall that separates accounting, its users and those whose interests it protects from its public audience.  Both the players and audience want the fourth wall restored as quickly as possible because, while it is down, all are uncomfortable, so strong interests support the status quo continuing as before the global financial crisis.

Link to full paper

Link to 2011 International Conference on Critical Accounting