Accounting assemblages, desire,and the body without organs
A case study of international developmentlending in Latin America
Dean Neu, Jeff Everett and Abu Shiraz Rahaman
Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
– This paper uses the ideas and concepts of Gilles Deleuze and Fe´lix Guattari and aims to toexamine how accounting works in the context of international development.
– A case study approach within El Salvador is used. Data sourcesinclude archival documents, 35 semi-structured interviews with ﬁeld participants, and participantobservations. The focus is on the activities of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and theUnited Nations Development Agency (UNDP) in the country of El Salvador, showing how complexassemblages of people, technologies such as accounting, and discourses such as accountability come toclaim or “territorialize” particular physical and discursive spaces.
– The analysis highlights how accounting and its associated actors further thedevelopment aspirations of loan beneﬁciaries; yet at the same time contribute to the“over-organization” of these actors’ social space.
– The paper illustrates that the concepts of Deleuze and Guattari – assemblage,desire, Bodies without Organs, and lines of ﬂight to name a few – open up for consideration andanalysis a series of ﬁeld-speciﬁc processes that have previously been largely un-explored within theaccounting literature.
Accounting, El Salvador, Banks, Loans
When you will have made him a body without organs then you will have delivered him fromall his automatic reactions and restored him to his true freedom (Antonin Artaud, 1976,pp. 570-1).
Throughout the developing world countries are moving to modernize the conduct of government. There is a groundswell of change affecting how countries think aboutgovernment’s role, what services it is to provide, and the delivery modes it is to use.The most visible manifestation of this reinvention (see, Osborne and Gaebler, 1992)involves the privatization of services. For example, between 1990 and 2003 120developing countries carried out 7,860 privatizations, generating close to $410 billion inproceeds (Kikeri and Kolo, 2005). Less visible but equally important has been the moveto modernize these countries’ ﬁnancial controls, which has led, among other things, tothe introduction of ﬁnancial reporting and taxation systems, performance indicators,
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The authors thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for thefunding necessary to undertake this study.
Received 23 October 2007Revised 11 August 2008Accepted 17 November 2008
Accounting, Auditing &Accountability JournalVol. 22 No. 3, 2009pp. 319-350
Emerald Group Publishing Limited0951-3574DOI 10.1108/09513570910945642