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The Politics of Accountability and Participation: A Case study of Samoa's Land Reform

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thesis
posted on 29.07.2021, 03:57 by Ming Xiao Chan

The objective of this study is to advance understanding of the politics of accountability and participation in a development context. Both the accounting and development literature have highlighted the limitations of the ‘neoliberal development’ paradigm’s methods for accountability and participatory practices which often neglect and exclude less powerful voices. This study addresses this shortcoming by reconceptualising accountability and participatory initiatives through a critical dialogic accounting lens and providing a framework for evaluating these practices in the context of Samoa’s land reform. To achieve this, the study draws on the work of critical dialogic accounting scholars (Brown, 2009; Dillard & Vinnari, 2019) and of development scholars (Cornwall, 2008; Goetz & Jenkins, 2005; McGee & Gaventa, 2013; Newell & Wheeler, 2006) working within the ‘deepening democracy’ paradigm. In a case study of Samoa’s land reform project, the study employs both semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis of media reports and policy documents to critically examine accountability and participatory practices, examining the political contestation between dominant powerholders and marginalised voices. It also considers the potential of critical dialogic accounting to contribute to the ‘deepening democracy’ paradigm in fostering more democratic and participatory governance in the Pacific context. The findings indicate that current approaches to accountability and participation are shaped by the ‘neoliberal development’ paradigm, favouring more powerful actors over other interested groups and consensus-based methods that stifle debate. These findings extend current accounting research that highlights the possibilities of critical dialogic accounting to critique neoliberal approaches and to facilitate democratic participation within the context of developing countries (Alawattage & Azure, 2019; Tanima, Brown & Dillard, 2020). In surfacing the political contestations surrounding Samoa’s land reform and drawing on Dillard and Vinnari’s (2019) proposals for responsibility networks, the study also provides a basis for developing more effective ways of ensuring accountability to, and participation of, less powerful groups.

History

Advisor 1

BROWN, JUDY

Advisor 2

MOLISA, PALA

Copyright Date

29/07/2021

Date of Award

29/07/2021

Publisher

Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Rights License

CC BY-ND 4.0

Degree Discipline

Accounting

Degree Grantor

Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Degree Level

Doctoral

Degree Name

Doctor of Commerce

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Centre for Accounting, Governance and Taxation Research

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 PURE BASIC RESEARCH

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis

Language

en_NZ

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Accounting and Commercial Law