(Sm)othering the self : an analysis of the politics of identity of women accountants in the UK
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This thesis examines the politics of identity of women accountants in the UK who are mothers, by exploring the links between working in the accounting profession and the experience of motherhood. It takes a sociological approach to analyse how social, political, cultural and moral forces, in relation to accounting, motherhood and wider society, affect identity, or the self. The accounting profession is arguably a masculine enviromnent into which the accountant is socialised. Motherhood illustrates the tensions between an essentialist and a non-essentialist view of identity. The thesis explores the contradictions and juxtapositions between these two identities of accountant and mother, and the struggle of women to exercise agency within the confines of the profession. It uses a feminist methodological framework based on the subjective experience of women. As such, I present my own autobiographical account of being an accountant and mother, and the oral history narratives of fifteen other women, arguing that narrative forms an integral part of identity construction. The thesis concludes that the narrative approach and the use of oral histories has much to offer to accounting research and has important implications for our understanding of the interrelationships between accounting and motherhood. These include the emotions, transformations and constructions of identity of women accountants.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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