Emerging from the shadow of the Soviet Union: The case of the accountancy field in Latvia

Arturs Praulins, Crawford Spence, George Voulgaris

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This article explores the structure of the accounting field in a post-Soviet context – Latvia. The aim of the study is to generate insights into the extent to which professionalization processes are shaped by national particularities and to demonstrate how self-styled professional fields change over time.
Drawing from the relational sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and drawing on 83 interviews, the paper highlights the forms of capital (cultural and social primarily) that help define what constitutes appropriate conduct for successful career progression therein.
The values ascribed to forms of capital that structure the Latvian accounting field fluctuate across time and space. This suggests that the structure of professional fields – as understood by the structuring properties of different forms of capital – is variable and fluid. Additionally, fields themselves can become more or less desirable over time to those who possess certain forms of capital.
The findings are important for understanding the form that an accounting field can take in an emerging economy that has fully embraced neoliberalism while maintaining strong residues of the Soviet system. The findings are also relevant for understanding the dynamics change more broadly in self-styled professional fields.
Research limitations/implications
Although the results may be specific to one national accounting field, the idiosyncrasies constitute the contribution of the paper, showing that the form and structure of accounting fields vary in accordance with national particularities. Overall, the paper highlights the importance of fit between habitus and field and of adjustment to the surrounding rules of the game in professional contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022


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