The purgatorial shadows of war: accounting, blame and shell shock pensions, 1914–1923

Miley, Frances and Read, Andrew (2017) The purgatorial shadows of war: accounting, blame and shell shock pensions, 1914–1923. Accounting History, 22 (1). pp. 5-28. ISSN 1032-3732

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Abstract

This research is a qualitative analysis of the role of accounting in British disablement pensions awarded to men who sustained shell shock during their Army service in the First World War. It suggests that accounting classification of shell shock for pension determination purposes supported a view of shell shock which made men with shell shock scapegoats of a system that was often unsupportive. Accounting classification contributed to the lack of support by distancing pension decision-makers from the moral consequences of pension determinations. This was able to occur because the British government used accounting classification as part of a mechanism to avoid blame for its pension determination choices. This research contributes to an ongoing debate about the role of government by suggesting that the functions of government provide opportunities for accounting to simultaneously serve a neutral role as mere inscription while being a social and moral construct.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Accounting history, blaming, distancing, First World War, pensions, scapegoating.
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5601 Accounting. Bookkeeping
Depositing User: Frances Miley
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2017 09:18
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2017 09:19
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67179

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