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Austerity in Africa

Audit cultures and the weakening of public sector health systems

James Pfeiffer

Austerity across Africa has been operationalized through World Bank and IMF structural adjustment programs since the 1980s, later rebranded euphemistically as poverty reduction strategies in the late 1990s. Austerity’s constraints on public spending led donors to a “civil society” focus in which NGOs would fill gaps in basic social services created by public sector contraction. One consequence was large-scale redirection of growing foreign aid flows away from public services to international NGOs. Austerity in Africa coincides with the emergence of what some anthropologists call “audit cultures” among donors. Extraordinary data collection infrastructures are demanded from recipient organizations in the name of transparency. However, the Mozambique experience described here reveals that these intensive audit cultures serve to obscure the destructive effects of NGO proliferation on public health systems.

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Barbara Madeloni

Neoliberal policies in teacher education marginalise faculty voice, narrow conceptions of teaching and learning and redefine how we know ourselves, our students and our work. Pressured within audit culture and the constant surveillance of accountability regimes to participate in practices that dehumanise, silence and de-form education, teacher educators are caught between compliance and complicity or the potential and risks of resistance. Written from my lived experience within the neoliberal regime of teacher education, this article examines the vulnerabilities, fears and risks that shape our choices, as well as the possibilities for ethical, answerable action.

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Audit failure and corporate corruption

Why Mediterranean patron-client relations are relevant for understanding the work of international accountancy firms

Cris Shore

Patron-clientelism and corruption were traditionally viewed as problems endemic to underdeveloped marginal countries with weak states, powerful self-serving elites, and widespread civic disengagement. However, recent decades have seen a dramatic increase in corruption scandals in the Global North, particularly its more developed banking and financial sectors. Paradoxically, this has occurred despite a massive expansion in auditing by international accountancy firms (KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY) who often portray themselves as warriors of integrity, transparency, and ethical conduct. How are these trends connected? Drawing on anthropological studies of Mediterranean patron-clientelism, I illustrate how collusive relations between accountancy firms and their clients create ideal conditions for corruption to flourish. Finally, I ask how can these accountancy scandals help us rethink patron-clientelism in an age of “audit culture”?

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Nature’s Market?

A Review of Organic Certification

Shaila Seshia Galvin

As organic food becomes more widely available, great faith is placed on the seal or logo that certifies organic status. This article treats the mark of certification as a starting rather than an end point, critically reviewing literature from diverse national and regional contexts. Exploring questions concerning the extent to which organic certification assists or undermines the goal of ecological sustainability, abets the advance of large-scale agricultural capital, and supports the livelihood of smallholder farmers, the article considers the theoretical foundations, methodologies and modes of inquiry that have guided studies of organic agriculture and certification. It brings this research into conversation with literatures on audit cultures, quality, and with ongoing nature-culture debates. Through critical review of the literature and the author's extensive fieldwork with organic smallholders in northern India, the article suggests possible directions in which the literature may be expanded and advanced.

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Asta Vonderau

Drawing upon ethnographic data, this article investigates the effects of a new online campus management system in one of the largest universities in Germany. It shows the various ways in which this technological innovation influenced students', teachers' and administrative personnel's relations and everyday working practices and how it is influential in the reorganisation of university structures. The online management system is regarded as an important part of an emerging infrastructure of excellence, which materialises the changing understanding of qualitative studies and teaching. Findings show that the online management supports standardised and economised study, teaching and administrative practices and silences creativity and flexibility. However, these standardisations are negotiated and questioned by the actors involved.

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Introduction

Constructing and practising student engagement in changing institutional cultures

Lisa Garforth and Anselma Gallinat

engagement came to prominence in the context of shifts in higher education often referred to as academic capitalism ( Slaughter and Leslie 1997 ), new public management ( Bleiklie 1998 ; Clarke 2010 ) and audit culture ( Shore and Wright 2015a , 2015b

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Interiority and government of the child

Transparency, risk, and good governance in Indonesia

Jan Newberry

of this risk talk resonates with the rise of audit culture and cultures of accountancy. At first blush, audit culture referred to new performance measures of accountability in university settings to produce transparency in public institutions

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Introduction

Capacity Building in Ethnographic Comparison

Rachel Douglas-Jones and Justin Shaffner

training, structures and audit cultures ( West 2016: 72 ). Though a full historical review of the guises taken by capacity is beyond the scope of this introduction, a historical frame is nonetheless significant for how anthropological accounts position

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Into and Out of Citizenship, through Personal Tax Payments

Romanian Migrants’ Leveraging of British Self-Employment

Dora-Olivia Vicol

performance reviews and team-building exercises colonize personal time ( Adkins and Lury 1999 ; Chelcea 2015 ), and how audit cultures impose a logic of accountancy on everyday life ( Power 1997 ; Strathern 2000 ). It is puzzling, therefore, that despite the

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After dispossession

Ethnographic approaches to neoliberalization

Oscar Salemink and Mattias Borg Rasmussen

Anthropological Institute 2 ( 3 ): 517 – 535 . Strathern , Marilyn . 2000 . Audit cultures: Anthropological studies in accountability, ethics, and the academy . London : Routledge . Taussig , Michael T . 1980 . The devil and commodity fetishism in South