Accounting and the making of Homo Liberalis

E. Pezet, C. LAMBERT

Foucault Studies

mai 2012, n°13, pp.67-81

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the practices whereby the subject, in an organisational context, carries out systematic practices of self-discipline and becomes a calculative self. In particular, we explore the techniques of conduct developed by management accountants in a French carmaker, which adheres to a neoliberal environment. We show how these manage-ment accountants become calculative selves by building the very measurement of their own performance. The organisation thereby emerges as the cauldron in which a Homo liberalis is forged. Homo liberalis is the individual capable of constructing for him/her the political self-discipline establishing his/her relationship with the social world on the basis of measurable performance. The management accountants studied in this article prefigure the Homo liberalis in the self-discipline they develop to act in compliance with the organisation's goals.Keywords: Technologies of the self, performance, accounting, Homo liberalis.