Accounting is rationalizations that people provide for their actions: justifications and excuses. Accounting is the process by which people offer accounts in order to make sense of the world. In ethnomethodology the term accounting is used to refer to the practices of observation and reporting which make objects and events observable and objective.
If a teacher claims that a student is above average, there are a set of things the teacher routinely does (setting tests and assignments, grading participation) to give this claim foundation and demonstrate the competence of the student in an objective and rational way. The student is therefore connected to these accounting practices.
Accounting is the process of describing or explaining social situations or how members make sense of their everyday world. Ethnomethodologists are interested in both the account and the method by which the account is made meaningful to the recipient of the account, and tend to emphasize the latter. The interest is not in determining if the account is accurate or otherwise judging the account but rather in exploring how the account is conveyed.
Explanation given by a husband for arriving home late at night is an account. Ethnomethodologist is interested in both the account and the methods used to convey that account to the recipient, the wife. Whether the account is factual or not is of no interest to the ethnomethodologist.
BACK IN: SOCIOLOGICAL STUDIES IN ACCOUNTING - By Andrea Mennicken - London School
of Economics and Political Science
Foucault, Bakhtin, Ethnomethodology:
Accounting for Hybridity in Talk-in-Interaction - Shirley Anne Tate