Preserving history in accounting: seeking common ground between “new” and “old” accounting history

Points out that traditional conceptions of accounting history and its achievements are being challenged by new accounting historians who are informed by radical philosophies and approaches to history. Suggests that this is a belated reflection of movements within the wider discipline of history which can be traced to the annalists in the 1930s and more recently to the influence of postmodernism. Observes that at issue between the traditional and new history are the importance of facts and the pursuit of truth by traditional historians, noting that new accounting historians have decried the reactionary effects of traditional history, which they propose to overcome by substituting accounting as an interested discourse for accounting as a neutral, socially sterile technique. Explains that, as the conventional form of historical writing, the narrative form also has been disparaged. Concludes by arguing that accounting historians should be tolerant of different approaches to accounting history.