Power and Discipline: The Role of Accounting in the Monte di Pietà of Ravenna between 18th and 19th Centuries

  •  Carlotta del Sordo    
  •  Massimo Fornasari    
  •  Rebecca L. Orelli    


This paper aims to fill a gap in the scant literature on accounting practices in non-Anglo-Saxon countries in under- researched periods by exploring the Monte di Pietà of Ravenna, an Italian non-profit institution. The research draws upon original 18th and 19th century documents found in the Monte di Pietà of Ravenna and offers an internal perspective of the development of accounting technology before and after an ‘intacco’ episode, thus attempting to shed light on the significance of accounting in that context. The originality of the Ravenna episode, compared to other similar ones experienced by Monti, consists in its extension over time and in its recurrence by three generations of administrators linked by kinship bonds, who systematically damaged the Monte between 1797 and 1837. The new form of control of the Monte’s activities after the “intacco” based on accounting technologies, and realised a new relation between power and knowledge in which accounting was the tool to exercise disciplinary power, thus making people more governable. Accounting technologies relied upon a more articulated financial statement that included the institute’s transactions and events.

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