Category Archives: Power

De-facing power: Towards understanding power in accounting history

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2013). De-facing power: Towards understanding power in accounting history. Paper presented at the 7th Accounting History International Conference, Seville, Spain.


The purpose of this research is to introduce Hayward’s concept of de-facing power to historical accounting research.  The value of de-facing power analysis for historical accounting research is considered in the context of a Catholic school strike that occurred in Goulburn, Australia in 1962.  The strike was a response to a dispute concerning minor building works at a Catholic school in Goulburn but was construed as a battle for government funding of Catholic parochial schools.  We examine the contribution of accounting information to this dispute and demonstrate that historically constructed events determine the application of power in this case rather than the agency of current participants in the dispute.  We conclude that de-facing power is a useful methodological approach for understanding historical accounting research because it forces researchers to consider whether power can be an unintended consequence of circumstance rather than something exercised by those more powerful against those less powerful.

Link to paper

Link to conference