Audit Cultures: Anthropological Studies in Accountability, Ethics, and the Academy

Audit Cultures: Anthropological Studies in Accountability, Ethics, and the Academy

Audit Cultures: Anthropological Studies in Accountability, Ethics, and the Academy

Audit Cultures: Anthropological Studies in Accountability, Ethics, and the Academy

Synopsis

Do audit cultures deliver greater responsibility, or do they stifle creative thought?We are all increasingly subjected to auditing, and alongside that, subject to accountability for our behaviour and actions. Audit cultures pervade in the workplace, our governmental and public institutions as well as academia. However, audit practices themselves have consequences, beneficial and detrimental, that often go unexamined.This book examines how pervasive practices of accountability are, the political and cultural conditions under which accountability flourishes and the consequences of their application. Twelve social anthropologists look at this influential and controversial phenomenon, and map out the effects around Europe and the Commonwealth, as well as in contexts such as the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and Academic institutions. The result provides an excellent insight into auditing and its dependence on precepts of economic efficiency and ethical practice. This point of convergence between these moral and financial priorities provides an excellent opening for debate on the culture of management and accountability.

Excerpt

This volume is based on materials and ideas first presented to the 1998 meetings of the European Association of Social Anthropologists in Frankfurt, at a plenary session under the title Conditions of Work, Conditions For Thought and at an associated workshop, Auditing Anthropology: the New Accountabilities. Those contributors who have published a version elsewhere (Vassos Argyrou, Peter Pels, and Cris Shore and Susan Wright) have here written afresh. the plenary and workshop had the benefit of commentaries from Dr Jean-Claude Galey and Professor Richard Werbner: we are grateful to them both for their interest and insights. Thanks are also due to Jon Mitchell not just for the substantial work which he has devoted to this volume-along with several other easa volumes-but for his own intellectual contribution.

Marilyn strathern
Cambridge, August 1999 . . .

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