TBS is proud to announce that Pénélope Van Den Bussche, Assistant Professor at TBS, has received the Award for Best Thesis in Accounting from French accounting association AFC.

The AFC Award for Best Thesis in Accounting

Every year, French accounting association Association Française de Comptabilité (AFC) grants a thesis award to turn the spotlight on exemplary and original doctoral work in the field of accounting, management control and auditing.

Pénélope Van Den Bussche, Winner for 2019

Winner of the Award for the Best Thesis in Accounting in 2019, Pénélope Van Den Bussche is Assistant Professor in Management Control, Accounting and Auditing at TBS. She also conducts research in the TBS Accounting, Control & Performance Management Research Lab.

Abstract of the Winning Thesis

In her thesis, Pénélope offers a biopolitical analysis of “community” in peer-to-peer platforms. The dissertation looks into users’ expertise and professionalization in the case of peer-to-peer platforms.

A biopolitical analysis of “community” in peer-to-peer platforms

Peer-to-peer platforms refer to the sum of their users as a “community” and the purpose of this research is to question the implications of this denomination. Drawing on a qualitative methodology through which I have collected interview and netnographic (Kozinets 2002) data, this dissertation puts forward the figure of the “professional amateur”.

First, users become entrepreneurs of the self in putting on platforms’ market their belongings and skills (Foucault 2004; Du Gay, Salaman, and Rees 1996). Reciprocal and public evaluations extend these stakes to all users (producers and consumers) that come to think in opportunity costs. Users assetize their belongings and skills, and their self: life is produced in economic terms.

Second, drawing on Lacanian studies (Roberts 2005, 1991; Stavrakakis 2008) this research highlights how evaluations are places for self-demonstration. In doing so, platforms instrumentalize users’ narcissism in order to create an efficient control structure where they only have to manage excessively deviant transactions.

Third, this dissertation puts forward the professional amateur as an evaluation expert on peer-to-peer platforms, putting in perspective the technical expertise of algorithms (Orlikowski and Scott 2013; Jeacle and Carter 2011). Finally, referring to a “community” questions the reincorporation of the social critique of capitalism (Boltanski and Chiapello 1999) by showcasing “authentic” social relationships.

Pénélope Van Den Bussche

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