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From inspection to auditing: audit and markets as linked ecologies

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This paper studies the roles that images and ideas of market creation played in the re-articulation of relations between government, audit expertise and professional organisation in post-Soviet Russia. It examines the change from state-led inspection to market-oriented auditing between 1985 and 2005, and analyses this in terms of the notion of ‘‘linked ecologies”. The paper queries the relationship between audit and neoliberal modes of governing. It argues that we should be careful not to see audit as an unproblematic expression of neoliberalism. Investigating the dynamics and conflicts accompanying attempts to establish auditing as a site for governmental reform, this paper examines the manifold ways in which the meaning of markets and the roles of auditing in them can be unsettled, reinvented and transformed. The paper analyses how auditing was made marketable, and investigates how projects of post-Soviet audit development came to be carried forward, shifted and changed through new ‘‘enterprising selves” and their newly founded audit and consulting firms. The paper concludes with a more general discussion of the implication of these findings for our understanding of the dynamics of professionalisation, and the changing of relations between politics and expertise.

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