Accounting: Two churches and two prayerhouses

Professor Eija Vinnari, Tampere University

'Two churches and two prayerhouses: Cultural heritage as singularity at Roşia Montană mining site'
Wednesday 8 December, 1.30pm - 2.45pm
Zoom online seminar

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This study addresses a protracted controversy related to a Canadian mining company’s plans to open a gold mine in the municipality of Roşia Montană, Western Romania. As researchers, we were empirically intrigued by the ferocity of the opposition because gold mining as such is a centuries-old practice in the region and its legitimacy had hardly been questioned so far. As we started collecting and examining material about the project and its reception, we noticed that an especially contested aspect was the mining company’s plan to relocate more than 2,000 residents and reconstruct some of their cultural artefacts, such as churches and graveyards, to a newly built village further away. The opponents dismissed these plans, arguing in various ways that the loss of the natural areas and cultural artefacts of Roşia Montană could not be compensated by building replicas elsewhere. The prevalence of such arguments suggested to us that a key issue at stake in the dispute was the perceived uniqueness of the place, and this in turn led us to consider that notions such as cultural sustainability, incommensurability and singularity might help us provide a theoretical answer to our empirical question of why gold mining was no longer welcome in Roşia Montană.


Eija Vinnari is Professor of Public Financial Management at Tampere University, Finland. Eija’s academic work covers a range of fields including accounting, public management, and animal ethics. Her current research interests include sustainability, counter accounts, critical dialogic accounting and accounting for non-human animals. In broader terms, Eija is fascinated by ontological, epistemological and methodological questions, sociological theories and discourse analytical approaches. Her work has been published in journals such as Accounting, Organizations and Society; Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal; Critical Perspectives on Accounting; Financial Accountability and Management; Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. She has also contributed to several edited collections. Eija is associate editor of Critical Perspectives on Accounting and she also serves on the editorial boards of various other accounting journals.

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First published: 24 November 2021