OPINION – Sociology of Worth and Corporate Social Responsibility: Post COVID-19

Carlos Noronha (2020)

Macau Business News.

Extract. “The objective of this article is twofold. Firstly, to explain why a sociological perspective is appropriate to review this incident and secondly to further question whether we really understand the concept of CSR in this new normal. First, I would like to invite readers to the little universe of accounting research. Apart from the “conventional” research methodology of capital market studies, we accountants, take an alternative approach to the field, whether as a phenomenon or a means to an end. The works of Karl Marx (Capital), Michel Foucault (Prison), Bruno Latour (Actor Network Theory) have been favorites in accounting research from the sociological and philosophical viewpoints. It is interesting to note that recently, in the US, capital market researchers have just recognized a social issue from this COVID-19 crisis and they are reacting toward the sociological aspect of accounting, which is itself mainly a “man-made” world. I took a bold attempt to borrow from the research conducted by Stephanie Perkiss and Lee Moerman who have investigated the function of accounting pre, during and post the Katrina devastation which took away so many lives in 1994 in Louisiana. Their lens of analysis was from the French sociologists Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thevenot who stated that the order of things and worth can be categorized into the so called six worlds. They are worlds or polities represented by the “inspired world”, the “domestic world”, the world of “fame”, the “civic world”, the “market world” and the “industrial world”. Every world is founded based on canonical writings ranging from Saint Augustine to Adam Smith, from religious studies to the economic realm. An astute reader may be aware that each world, as mentioned above, may function or may be perceived in very different ways. The domestic world may coincide with the industrial world before Katrina, and the civic world may have clashed with the market world post-Katrina. And as such, theoretical explanations of social and market behaviors could be formulated.”

Link to the article