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TitleAccounting as a technology of government in the Portuguese empire: the development, application and enforcement of accounting rules during the Pombaline Era (1761-1777)
Author(s)Gomes, Delfina
Carnegie, Garry D.
Rodrigues, Lúcia Lima
KeywordsAccounting rules
Central government
Portuguese empire
Technologies of government
Practical drift
Issue date2014
PublisherTaylor and Francis
JournalEuropean Accounting Review
Abstract(s)This study of the interrelations of accounting and the State portrays accounting as a technology of government to effectively enact “practical action” (Snook, 2000: 186) at a distance in the Portuguese Empire. The study examines the development, application and enforcement of accounting rules under Portuguese imperialism in the “Pombaline Era” during the period 1761 to 1777. These rules, comprising the “1761 Law” and the later applicable accounting “Instructions,” were issued by the Royal Treasury, established in 1761, for application throughout the Portuguese Empire. Using the combination of Foucault’s concept of governmentality and Snook’s theory of “practical drift”, the study elucidates how the implementation and evaluation of accounting control systems permitted the Portuguese Government to exercise control at a distance, thereby mobilizing individuals to pursue its goals for the Empire. The measures taken to enforce conformity with the accounting rules are shown to have been targeted at deterring the phenomenon of practical drift and, therefore, were concerned with avoiding malfunctioning and potential chaos in colonial administration.
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:iMARKE - Publicações em Revistas Internacionais (com revisão por pares) / Articles in International Journals (peer review)

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