Research talk by Professor Fernanda Sauerbronn on “Accounting Knowledge as an Argumentative Tool and Power Instrument in a Public Policy Management Council”
Prof. Sauerbronn is an Associate Professor of Qualitative and Critical Accounting Research at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She develops critical studies on agency, governance, and accountability in the public-private interface based on alternative epistemologies and methodologies. Her recent projects are related to decolonial approaches that go beyond traditional methods toward engaging with social transformation.
Prof. Sauerbronn will be presenting her working paper titled: “Accounting Knowledge as an Argumentative Tool and Power Instrument in a Public Policy Management Council”.
Abstract: This research aimed to analyze how accounting knowledge is used as an argumentative tool that impacts power relations in an control arena of social assistant policy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Social assistance policy is a genderified policy sustaining a regime of “care” traditionally attributed to women (92.92% of this public policy’s workforce) due to the dominant patriarchal regime. Hence, the study was inspired by Habermasian emancipatory interest to recognize the accounting role in shaping social practices in deliberative processes that presuppose the democratic argumentation and opposition of ideas among the participants. We chose the Social Assistance Municipal Council of Rio de Janeiro as a single case study. Twelve interviews were held with representatives from the government, civil society, technical staff, and the municipal secretariat. Advisors representing the government and assistance entities dominate over accounting themes, representing an advantage for these two groups in constructing argumentation at council meetings. On the other hand, the group of councilors representing social assistance users revealed difficulties concerning accounting issues, limiting their deliberative power, especially in resource disputes over the social assistance budget.