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Postcards from the front: changing narratives in UK financial services

Collins, David; Dewing, Ian; Russell, Peter


David Collins

Ian Dewing

Peter Russell


This paper seeks to explore the methodological difficulties that confront those who would seek to explain, to account for and to intervene in social affairs. Noting the predominance of ‘behaviourist' and ‘cognitivist' accounts of the change process and the, recent, development of ‘narrative' alternatives we reflect upon the craft of academic writing and upon the creative choices that fabricate our worlds and our understanding. Taking the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as our example we attempt to reveal the manner in which particular authorial strategies, that remain submerged with ‘behaviourist' and ‘cognitivist' accounts of change, precipitate distinctive forms of policy and action in the arena of financial services. Yet we also suggest that ‘narrative' accounts of change, which base their authority on primary research, similarly, tend to downplay the political and poetical choices that shape their elaborations because they portray ‘context' as natural and self-evident. By revealing the authorial strategies that shape our appreciation of ‘context' and the organized world, more generally, we hope to encourage further reflection on the application of narrative approaches, and so, further discussion of the regulation of financial services. Through such analytical processes we aim to precipitate a ‘reciprocal' appreciation of the problems associated with accounting for the lives and experiences of others.


Collins, D., Dewing, I., & Russell, P. (2009). Postcards from the front: changing narratives in UK financial services. Critical Perspectives On Accounting, 20(8), 884-895.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 25, 2009
Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2009
Publication Date 2009-11
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Critical Perspectives On Accounting
Print ISSN 1045-2354
Electronic ISSN 1095-9955
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 8
Pages 884-895
Keywords Accounting and writing; Change; Narratives; Metaphor; Context; Financial services; Financial Services Authority
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