This is England: punk rock's realist/idealist dialectic and its implications for critical accounting education

Article


James, Kieran. 2009. "This is England: punk rock's realist/idealist dialectic and its implications for critical accounting education." Accounting Forum. 33 (2), pp. 127-145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.accfor.2008.01.002
Article Title

This is England: punk rock's realist/idealist dialectic and its implications for critical accounting education

ERA Journal ID19063
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorJames, Kieran
Journal TitleAccounting Forum
Journal Citation33 (2), pp. 127-145
Number of Pages19
Year2009
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, Netherlands
ISSN0155-9982
1467-6303
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.accfor.2008.01.002
Abstract

This paper studies the lyrics of two songs from the Clash, one of the two most important bands from the U.K.’s 'first wave of punk' scene. The paper interprets the songs within their institutional, social, economic and political context, i.e. pre-Thatcher and Thatcher Britain. I then draw out the implications of the Clash’s punk ideology for critical accounting educators today, and especially the implications for ethics education. The Clash’s message and moral compass are especially relevant today as (like the Clash’s England) both Bush’s America and an immediately post-Howard Australia have been vastly altered by a harsh neo-liberalism under which alternative (and especially collectivist) voices have been frequently mocked and suppressed. The Clash was able to simultaneously be both realist and idealist and, whilst this contradiction captured the hearts of many, the classic line-up of the band was to disintegrate under the weight of its own contradictions. The critical accounting community is reminded to continue to aspire to both aspects of the realist/idealist dialectic that is so vividly apparent in the Clash’s powerful and poignant early work and especially from the self-titled debut album up to Sandinista!

Keywordsaccounting education; ethics education; alienation; business ethics; The Clash; critical accounting; Karl Marx; punk rock; Joe Strummer
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020500102. Business ethics
350101. Accounting theory and standards
390103. Economics, business and management curriculum and pedagogy
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Accounting, Economics and Finance
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