Gifting, Exchange and Reciprocity in Thai Annual Reports: Towards a Buddhist Relational Theory of Thai Accounting Practice

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This paper analyses the inter-relationship of human agency and socio-economic structure in the determination of Thai accounting. It demonstrates that determination of accounting practice lies neither in the individual agency of human practice, nor in the forces of socio-economic structure per se, but rather in patterns of relational practice. Drawing on the theoretical framework of Mauss to analyse accounting practice as revealed in Thai company annual reports, this paper elaborates a Buddhist relational theory of accounting practice that focuses on the importance of patterns of practices generated by gifting, exchange and reciprocity. It studies the ways that accounting as evidenced in the relational practices of Thai annual reports creates patterns of corporate, societal and state identity in late 20th and early 21st-century Thailand. The article also relates this Thai Buddhist conceptualisation of practice to other theoretical approaches, particularly Foucault, Giddens and Latour, which accounting historians have adapted to express the interaction of human and structural agency in practice. In doing so, the paper seeks to highlight some of the limitations in such accounting theorisation and emphasise the importance of a focus on normative patterns of relational practice as an explanation of accounting formation.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages27
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date12 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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