Recognising the dynamic character of the exercise of power, this study analyses the complex interplay between power and resistance, as conceived by Foucault, after the Italian Fascists sought to subjugate all Italian universities. When the University of Ferrara, a 'Free University', resisted the government's intentions, which would also have meant restricting access to higher education to working class youth, accounting practices became essential in providing justification for the government's actions. In response, the University was forced to use accounting practices as its main form of defence. This resulted in the government having to use different tactics to achieve its final goals. If resistance is met by governments in the implementation of their programmes this may require a shift in the tactics originally employed to achieve the planned outcomes. Greater demands were placed on the funders of the University and changes were made to how the University's performance was represented, interpreted and evaluated by the means of accounting practices. In the power struggle, accounting played different roles in the service of conflicting objectives, ranging from concealing the interested nature of political action, demonstrating the achievement of financial stability and self-sufficiency, providing legitimacy or ensuring the use of resources consistent with the aims of those who exercised power. So persuasive was the action enabled by accounting information that the State was finally able to gain control of the University without making it a 'Kingdom University', and hence seeming to preserve the appearance of independence almost until the end of the Fascist regime. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Accounting for power and resistance: The University of Ferrara under the Fascist regime in Italy

Luca Papi
Primo
;
Enrico Deidda Gagliardo
Penultimo
;
2019

Abstract

Recognising the dynamic character of the exercise of power, this study analyses the complex interplay between power and resistance, as conceived by Foucault, after the Italian Fascists sought to subjugate all Italian universities. When the University of Ferrara, a 'Free University', resisted the government's intentions, which would also have meant restricting access to higher education to working class youth, accounting practices became essential in providing justification for the government's actions. In response, the University was forced to use accounting practices as its main form of defence. This resulted in the government having to use different tactics to achieve its final goals. If resistance is met by governments in the implementation of their programmes this may require a shift in the tactics originally employed to achieve the planned outcomes. Greater demands were placed on the funders of the University and changes were made to how the University's performance was represented, interpreted and evaluated by the means of accounting practices. In the power struggle, accounting played different roles in the service of conflicting objectives, ranging from concealing the interested nature of political action, demonstrating the achievement of financial stability and self-sufficiency, providing legitimacy or ensuring the use of resources consistent with the aims of those who exercised power. So persuasive was the action enabled by accounting information that the State was finally able to gain control of the University without making it a 'Kingdom University', and hence seeming to preserve the appearance of independence almost until the end of the Fascist regime. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
2019
Papi, Luca; Bigoni, Michele; DEIDDA GAGLIARDO, Enrico; Funnell, Warwick
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2398048
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