“We hope to make the academic community we locate ourselves in more diverse and open to researchers from underrepresented backgrounds, regions, and disciplines. To this end, here we set up three sessions in hope of prompting conversations on various aspects of academic inclusion. We would also be delighted for prospective participants who share an interest in reflecting on our (future) academic community to get in touch before the conference.” – Finia Kuhlmann (F.Kuhlmann@lse.ac.uk) and Charlotte Bartels (F.Bartels@lse.ac.uk) (Doctoral students from LSE taking the lead on creating these sessions).
Session 1: Person-specific inclusion
In this session we aim to discuss how different person-specific aspects influence access to academic institutions, practices, and discourses. One aspect to highlight is differential access based on geography; for example, access to networks of expertise, institutional reputation, language differences, resources required to attend non-virtual events. A second aspect relates to personal identity characteristics including race, gender and class in terms of research interests and how such characteristics influence access to academic communities. Of course, these aspects interlink in different ways and produce person-specific challenges as well as opportunities for engagement in our academic community.
In the session, we hope to explore what a meaningful inclusion of a variety of persons from different backgrounds, identities and geographies might look like, and importantly, what can be done, by whom, how, when, to achieve this aspect of inclusion. As a prompt for this session, we are pleased to announce that Professor Mary Anali Vera Colina (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) will speak for 20 minutes to briefly cover the topic before we go into breakout rooms.
Session 2: Inclusion on academic community: rethinking the boundary of ‘our academic community’
In this session we aim to rethink our own conceptions of what ‘our academic community’ is. We would question who is meant when ‘we’ talk of ‘community’: Does it include research participants? Does it include practitioners? How about quantitatively trained colleagues, who are becoming interested in qualitative accounting research (and vice versa)? Where are the lines between academically-oriented practitioners, academic-policy makers, and a ‘pure academia’? Does it include local universities, and if so, who in it? Our ‘home’ department? Adjacent departments? Professional staff? Does it include students, and if so from what ‘level’ onwards? Without presupposing a static fixed community notion, we think it is important to critically reflect about who is currently included in our minds when we speak of community, and who we might want such notion to include. We might come to different ideas of community which co-exist, we might want to discuss how they (can) relate.
In the session, we hope to gain clarity on who ‘our community’ is, and how we can support the inclusion of those actors currently outside the boundaries we draw in our community. As a prompt for this session, we are pleased to announce that Professor Cheryl Lehman (Hofstra University) will speak for 20 minutes to briefly cover the topic before we go into breakout rooms.
Session 3: Theory and methodology inclusion
In this session we aim to discuss how novel approaches, frameworks or schools of thought can be meaningfully included and mobilised in theorising accounting research. Theory inclusion is also inherently a methodological issue. Sticking to and going deeper and deeper into one or two theories in pursuit of the so-called ‘incremental value’ is more compatible with the realism methodology and its vertical way of knowledge building – like placing one brick upon another (Pratt et al., 2019, Administrative Science Quarterly). In contrast, the complexity and the fluid nature of interpretive research requires multiple approaches to knowledge accumulation including the horizontal one – mobilising a wide range of angles and theories to unpack a phenomenon. A discussion here may involve taking a step back and thinking about what range of theories we want to include (i.e., one might posit that a knowledge of Foucault is often presumed while Spivak or Žižek are not taken for granted), and how to introduce new theories in a meaningful way whilst avoiding sliding into a ‘gap-spotting’ type of research. As a prompt for this session, we are pleased to announce that Professor John Roberts (University of Sydney) will speak for 20 minutes to briefly cover the topic before we go into breakout rooms.
Each of the three inclusion sessions will last 90 minutes. The invited prompt-givers will speak in the first 20 minutes. Participants will then be sent to breakout rooms for a 50-minute discussion before going back to the plenum to share their points of discussion with the wider audience in the last 20 minutes. We hope to tailor the sessions towards your interest and concerns. Upon registration confirmation, participants will be sent a link to a questionnaire, where you can comment on what aspects you would like to cover and what questions you want to have answered. We will go through these, compile them anonymously and then circulate the relevant set to the prompt-giver.