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Woman, Man, Abacus: A Tale of Enlightenment
Abstract

Abstract:

Hansun Hsiung examines the hitherto neglected role of bookkeeping in the work of Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901). Focusing on the concepts of number and balance, he argues that the practice of double-entry bookkeeping was closely related to Fukuzawa's unique articulation of Victorian liberalism. Numbers provided Fukuzawa with a suprahistorical mode of argumentation, whereas bookkeeping provided a normative framework of balance for dealing with numbers. The combination of these terms allowed Fukuzawa to move beyond the main mode of numerical reasoning in politics at the time: the discipline of statistics. After establishing this claim, Hsiung proceeds to trace the history of bookkeeping within the development of university curricula in Japan. He concludes that the institutionalization of modern disciplines and their hierarchies of knowledge resulted in the exclusion of bookkeeping from political thought.


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