Accounting, "economic citizenship" and the spatial re-ordering of manufacture

P B. Miller, Ted O'Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses the roles of accounting within one of the most extensive programs of advanced manufacture undertaken by an American corporation. Three distinct levels of analysis are pursued: firstly, the profound alterations that were to be effected in the identity and mode of operation of a key assembly plant, and in the ordering of its manufacturing spaces, as diverse calculative and managerial expertises were brought into complex and tentative alignments within a factory modernization process; secondly, the hopes and ideals for advanced manufacture and for American competitiveness that were to be constituted and made operable within this process; and thirdly, the links formed between this ambitious program of plant renewal and the various appeals to a “new economic citizenship” that have become prevalent in debates on advanced manufacture. By focusing on the relays and interconnections between these three levels of analysis, and the shifting ensembles thus formed, we are able to explore the dynamics of a specific attempt to govern the economic and personal dimensions of an enterprise. The concern is with all of those programs and technologies, including accounting, which seek to act upon and to transform the conduct of manufacture and the conduct of persons in a certain way. For it is, we argue, through such interventions that a new mode of seeking to govern economic life is set in place. And it is through such means that a novel type of economic citizen is called upon to play a new set of roles within the enterprise and within the nation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-43
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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