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An investigation into (1) the philosophical underpinnings of a possible deep ecology form of community accounting for nature and (2) a potential accounting resource for the same

Christian, Jack (2015) An investigation into (1) the philosophical underpinnings of a possible deep ecology form of community accounting for nature and (2) a potential accounting resource for the same. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis begins with a quest to understand why people might undertake Environmental Management Accounting (EMA). As a result of earlier research and reading it is concluded that EMA as currently practised is anthropocentric and seeks to control the environment for the benefit of humankind. A new kind of EMA based on deep ecology principles and working for the benefit of the environment or “nature” is then identified in earlier work by the author (Christian, 2014). The thesis then focuses on the deep ecology principle of inter-connectedness which underlies this new EMA and the potential support for the new EMA. Adopting a novel approach to the quadri-hermeneutic methodology developed by Alvesson and Skoldberg (2000) the thesis offers four interpretations of three interviews plus a dialogue in which the key concepts surrounding the term environmental management accounting are represented as characters meeting at an ‘open mic’ night in a pub. The interviews are interpreted both empathetically and suspiciously and in line with the existentialist notion of “inauthentic” knowledge that underwrites this thesis as a whole. Ultimately the thesis reaches two conclusions. Firstly deep ecology cannot rely on any metaphysical or ontological underpinning and it must focus on developing a new discourse around inter-connectedness and “telling a better story”. Secondly though support for new accounting based on deep ecology is forthcoming it will need to include a pluralism of views and be open-ended and polyvocal.

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