A Critical Theory perspective on the pressures, contradictions and dilemmas faced by entry-level accounting academics

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This paper is a study of the accounting academic labour market and workplace conditions. Its particular focus is on the pressures, contradictions and dilemmas experienced by junior (Levels A and B) accounting academics at Australian universities. It is argued that, due to work, personal and family pressures, many junior staff members may struggle to complete their PhD within a prescribed time frame. The reasons for this are discussed, as well as the likely effects. The Marxist concept of “alienation” is explored in detail to explain how a junior staff member’s work “product” may take on a life of its own which stands up in opposition to her/him, to accuse her/him. The writings of the first-generation
critical theorist, Herbert Marcuse, are used to suggest a radical path forward for the junior staff member. She/he is encouraged to take charge of her/his own destiny from within, value personal relationships, and pursue scholarship for its own sake. Opportunities for resistance are also explored in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1263-1295
Number of pages33
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes



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