REVIEW COMMENTS. PAPER: Rethinking China: Discourse and Fair Value Accounting AUTHORS OF PAPER : Eagle Zhang*, Jane Andrew University of Sydney AUTHOR OF COMMENTS: Mark Christensen, Southern Cross University (July 2014). Summary of manuscript. Objective:
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PAPER: Rethinking China: Discourse and Fair Value Accounting
AUTHORS OF PAPER: Eagle Zhang*, Jane Andrew University of Sydney
AUTHOR OF COMMENTS: Mark Christensen, Southern Cross University
Using Critical Discourse Analysis applied to Fair Value Accounting discourse in China to examine the relationship between (1) accounting discourse, (2) discussions of an ‘efficient’ and ‘free’ market and (3) the neoliberalisation of China. Drawing on discourses produced both from ‘power’ (government, media, leading academics) and those present within dissenting views to demonstrate how discourse has been mobilised to facilitate regulatory change within China.
Setting the stage:
Authors ground their interest in the modern China’s tension between surplus orientation of the market and the welfare orientation of socialism (“China’s Socialist Market Economy”).
FVA spreading to various parts of the world but the
Chinese context throws light on underlying neoliberalism.
Need to expose the ideological dimension
of discursive practices.
Highest ranked actg journal;
12 issues pa. about 13 papers each
“there can be little doubt that the framing of FVA by these academics in
terms of ‘markets’ and ‘relevance’ aligns the technical practices of
accounting with the changing political economy within China” P. 11
Keywords: ‘market economy’, ‘value relevance to investors’, ‘capital
market efficiency’, ‘international convergence of accounting standards’
3 variables: ‘field’ (the event = FVA); ‘tenor’ (social participants and
relations = academics & govt officials); ‘mode’ (part played by
discourse in the activity = significant)
media censorship = a big institutional factor implying a relatively ‘stable’
network in which texts move and undergo predictable transformations;
understanding it is critical to help decode how the text fits in with the
experience of the discourse producers and consumers in China
2nd dimension conclusion:
“This type of narrowness not only implies a kind of collaboration between key players that effaces the complexity and multiplicity of the event under investigation, but also helps fracture the possibility of any benevolent effect from the adoption of globalised accounting regulations and techniques” (p. 15)
“alternative discourses unconsciously align with its proponents,
through a shared belief in the benevolence of a free-market
mechanism” (p. 17)
The depoliticization of China was made possible largely through discourse that prioritises market oriented economics over other aspects of social and political life (discourse helps neutralise the appearance of ideology).
The power of this hegemony is covert, but made visible by exposing the socio-cognitive aspects of text production and interpretation. It reveals the deeper consciousness that Chinese society has ascribed to those textual representations, and what implications it has in naturalising neoliberal ideology.
Exposing this discursive singularity may challenge FVA
Is brave to attempt CDA in a single paper where the micro (textual representations) and the macro (neoliberal economic and political shifts) are connected
Clearly written with nice turns of phrase
Opens a Chinese literature to an English-speaking audience – a privileged insight thru’ 4 valuable appendices
Provokes future research and builds on prior FVA in China work
A background/contextual section to the paper would be helpful
“not a one-way vehicle for representation
but is also interactive” (p. 7)
Shouldn’t CDA take into account this ‘meta view’ of the
academic and professional literature interplay?
4. Discourse as ‘social practice’
The 3rd dimension (‘social practice’) is empirically demanding but the paper doesn’t quite satisfy here. Can reliance on academic papers (‘low level’ journals) reflectsocial practice? Or should that text be included in the 1st dimension? It is difficult to see the difference between the 1st and 3rd dimensions here. Further, apparently the papers used to understand this 3rddimension are conceptual and lacking in empirical data. Thus, the 3rd dimension seems to lack a solid empirical base for understanding social practice.
4. Discourse as ‘social practice’ (cont.)
It may be that data is available but I don’t find it in the paper (especially Section 4.3). For example, is it possible to consider social practice in China without recourse to the controls exerted by the Party on the various mechanisms of Chinese society – including academic writing?
Can we see the context of FVA discourse without recognising how China grapples with inevitable tension from ‘a more muscular state hand on the levers of capitalism’ and ‘the free market’ (egWTO rulings denying market-based status and hence not having protection against claims of Chinese dumping?)
From a western (and ignorant) perspective, China presents so
many fascinating conundrums! FVA and what stands behind it
is an important one and deserves attention.
Improved understanding of China is crucially important
‘4 + 1’ reflections on the paper