Ancestors of Governmentality: Accounting and Pastoral Power in the 15th century

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Bigoni, M. ; Funnell, Warwick N. (2014)

Foucault identified the roots of governmentality in religious beliefs and religious history with its genealogical core the equivalent of pastoral power, the art of governing people by relying on a dualistic logic; individualization and totalization. This technology of power arose and matured within the Roman Catholic Church and provided a model for many states in the achievement and exercise of power. Informed by the work of Foucault on pastoral power the present work examines the genealogical core of governmentality in the context of the Roman Catholic Church at a time of great crisis in the 15th century when the Roman Catholic Church was undergoing reform instituted by Pope Eugenius IV (1431–1447). The contributions of accounting to pastoral power are shown in this study to have been pivotal in restoring the Church's standing and influence. Accounting was one of the technologies that allowed the bishops to control both the diocese as a whole and each priest, to subjugate the priests to the bishops’ authority and, thereby, to govern the diocese through a never-ending extraction of truth.
  • References (2)

    Miller, P., Hopper, T., Laughlin, R., 1991. The new accounting history: an introduction. Accounting, Organizations and Society 16, no. 5-6: 396-403.

    Miller, P., Napier, C. J. 1993. Genealogies of calculation. Accounting, Organizations and Society 18, no. 7-8: 631-47.

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