No French, no more: Language-based exclusion in North America's first professional accounting association, 1879-1927

Crawford Spence, Marion Brivot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper draws on Bourdieu's sociolinguistic theory to interpret the overrepresentation of Anglophone accountants vis-à-vis Francophone comptables in the formative years of North America's first professional accounting association. In a linguistic market, where English was taken for granted as the official language of commerce, we find that the founding members of the Association of Accountants in Montreal (AAM) possessed a 'distinctive' cultural and linguistic habitus. We observe that the AAM enacted for many years a number of exclusion strategies to effectively limit its admittance of Francophone compatibles who possessed a different cultural and linguistic habitus. When the AAM eventually did explicitly embrace Francophone memberships, this was in order to counter the threat of a rival accounting designation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-184
Number of pages22
JournalAccounting History Review
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

Keywords

  • Accounting profession
  • Bourdieu
  • Canada
  • Language
  • Professional closure
  • Quebec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • History

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