The “accountant” stereotype in the Florentine medieval popular culture: “galantuomini” or usurers?

Posted by Matteo Molinari - Jun 17, 2021
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Happy to share an article developed with Jonida Carungu and published in Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal! 

Our paper explores the stereotype of the accountant in Florentine medieval popular culture based on literary works and from a historical perspective. We aim to highlight how stereotypes change with time and represent the cultural and historical evolution of a society. 

We show the change of the accountant stereotype from the medieval age to the Renaissance. The Divine Comedy mainly connotes a negative accountant stereotype. The 14th century's Florentine gentlemen (“i galantuomini”) are apparently positive characters, with an ordered and clean aspect, but they are accused of being usurers. Dante Alighieri pictures the accountant as a “servant of capitalism”, “dishonest person, excessively fixated with money”, “villain and evil” and “excessively rational”. Giovanni Boccaccio mainly portrays a positive accountant stereotype. The accountant is increasingly more reliable, and this “commercial man” takes a more prestigious role in the society. In The Decameron, the accountant is depicted as a “hero”, “gentleman”, “family-oriented person with a high level of work commitment” and “colourful persona, warm, and emotional”. 

This study engages with accounting history literature accountants' stereotypes in an unexplored context and time period, providing a base for comparative international research on accounting stereotypes and popular culture. Additionally, it addresses the need for further research on the accountant stereotype based on literary works and from a historical perspective. Therefore, this research also expands the New Accounting History (NAH) literature, focussing on the investigation of the accountant stereotype connotations in the 14th century.

Please find the full paper here: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/AAAJ-01-2020-4386/fu…

 

Matteo Molinari (matteo.molinari@unisi.it), University of Siena – Italy