Accounting and Order: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Accounting and Order

1st Edition

By Mahmoud Ezzamel


502 pages | 80 B/W Illus.

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This book draws on ancient Egyptian inscriptions in order to theorize the relationship between accounting and order. It focuses especially on the performative power of accounting in producing and sustaining order in society. It explores how accounting intervened in various domains of the ancient Egyptian world: the cosmos; life on earth (offerings to the gods; taxation; transportation; redistribution for palace dependants; mining activities; work organization; baking and brewing; private estates and the household; and private transactions in semi-barter exchange); and the cult of the dead. The book emphasizes several possibilities through which accounting can be theorized over and above strands of theorizing that have already been explored in detail previously. These additional possibilities theorize accounting as a performative ritual; myth; a sign system; a signifier; a time ordering device; a spatial ordering device; violence; and as an archive and a cultural memory. Each of these themes are summarized with further suggestions as to how theorizing might be pursued in future research in the final chapter of the book. This book is of particular relevance to all accounting students and researchers concerned with theorize accounting and also with the relevance of history to the project of contemporary theorizing of accounting.


'This book is a crowning achievement of 20 years of careful and thoughtful scholarship by Mahmoud Ezzamel. It is an amazing and substantive contribution to modern accounting thought. Who would have thought that a book on accounting and Ancient Egypt could be so engaging and relevant? It places history at the centre of attempts to understand contemporary debates about the power and role of accounting in society. Despite what the book argues, this is indeed a fundamental and original contribution to understanding religion, order, performativity and accounting.' – David J. Cooper, University of Alberta, Canada

'This is a very interesting work, the first of its kind that encompasses ancient Egyptian accounting practices. Mahmoud Ezzamel has provided details and explanations that are fresh and unexpected. The study also provides a modern perspective on the daily life of scribal bureaucrats and their methods of accounting. I wholeheartedly recommend this work for those interested in ancient economics, the bureaucratic superstructure of these societies and especially the careful methods of daily accounting practice.' – Anthony Spalinger,University of Auckland, New Zealand

'Despite, or possibly because of, the narrow focus on Ancient Egyptian accounting inscriptions and how they contribute to social order, this stimulating book will be essential reading in an accounting history doctoral seminar, and belongs on the bookshelf of every cultivated accounting researcher.' -- Sudipta Basu, Temple University, USA

Table of Contents

Part 1: Egypt, Order and Scribes 1. Prologue 2. Ancient Egypt: A Brief History Part 2: Accounting, Order, and Gods 3. Accounting and Order 4. Creation, Order and Divine Accounting 5. Pleasing the Gods: Order and Accounting for Offerings Part 3: Providing For the State 6. Ordering the Taxation Cycle 7. Ordering Transportation: Accounting for the Fleet 8. Accounting and Redistribution: The Palace and Mortuary Cult 9. Accounting and Ordering the Activities of the Funerary Temples 10. Accounting for Mining Expeditions 11. Accounting and the Ordering of Work Organization 21. Accounting for the Bakeries Part 4: Ordering the Private Domain 13. Ordering Private Estates and the Household 14. Ordering Lives: the Roles of Accounting and Money in Organizing Communities Part 5: Epilogue 15. Epilogue. Bibliography. Index

About the Author

Mahmoud Ezzamel, BCom., MCom., Ph.D., is Professor at Cardiff University, UK, and IE Business School, Spain. He has published widely in major international journals on various topics including the interface between accounting and social theory, accounting history, accounting regulation, and corporate governance. He has also published 11 books in the areas of management accounting, accounting regulation, and corporate governance.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Accounting

This series explores the roles of Accounting and Accounting theory in the modern world. The series examines research in accounting thought, practice, auditing, principles and ethics as well as international standards and regulation setting. Examining private, public and non-profit sectors, Routledge Studies in Accounting, seeks to advance the scholarly debate by providing cutting edge and insightful research

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Accounting / General
HISTORY / Ancient / Egypt