Postcards from the Front: Changing narratives in UK financial services

David Collins*, Ian Dewing, Peter Russell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-895
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


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