Cultural sustainability and the construction of (in)commensurability: cultural heritage at the Roşia Montană mining site

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Accounting scholars have begun to pay increasing attention to commensuration, in other words the valuation of different objects with a common metric. There are also a few studies on a diametrically opposed process, namely incommensuration. However, what is missing from this prior research is a more nuanced examination of how (in)commensurability is socially constructed in relation to different approaches to value. Such an examination is important as it adds to our understanding about the interplay of those complex social processes and the associated moral reasoning. The purpose of this study is to examine forms of (in)commensuration work associated with different approaches to the value of cultural heritage. In empirical terms, we study a major controversy related to a Canadian mining company’s plans to open a gold mine in the municipality of Roşia Montană, Western Romania. Our empirical data is gathered from a variety of sources: public documents released by the company, national and international non-governmental organisations, state agencies, and religious institutions; online archives of two major national newspapers from 2002 until 2021; and public consultation material from the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment. Our study makes a twofold contribution. First, we add to the accounting literature on (in)commensuration work by developing and applying a framework that considers both commensuration work and incommensuration work and connects these two forms of work to different approaches to value as well as to the different ways of drawing boundaries around elements of cultural heritage. Second, we expand previous research on accounting and sustainability by focusing on the rarely explored theme of cultural sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102577
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • cultural heritage, cultural sustainability, commensuration, Romania, mining

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2


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