Accounting in the Golden Age of Singosari Kingdom:
A Foucauldian Perspective
Eko Ganis Sukoharsono
Department of Accounting
The aim of this study is to explore the history of accounting in Indonesia. In this case, a particular period of Indonesia history – the form and the existence of the accounting system in the Singosari Kingdom era – is the focus of the investigation. In the context of this study, accounting is not simply a method of calculation, but it is a discipline with complex phenomena in which it influences the individual, organizational, and social orders. In addition, the range of its aspects is from social, political and economic point of view.
This study is conducted by using a Foucauldian concept of the relation between the power and knowledge. The historical accounting researchers use the Foucauldian approach to show the accounting complexity of the power and knowledge structures within a society. This approach shows the accounting system as a valuable social science for disciplining the society and manifesting a comprehensive political power within the society. Then the major concern of the methodological analyses in the accounting research is to disclose how accounting becomes a disciplinary power and constitutive activity of knowledge.
The kingdom of Singosari (1222-1292) was historically closely related to the foundation of Majapahit kingdom, particularly in the field of public finance and administrative accountability. There was a fact that during Singosari and Majapahit kingdom, state-craft stressed the importance of a full treasury for successful governmental activities. Both kingdoms evolved a regular system of taxation. The taxation system, in some extent, was a complex system in which it provided the tax for merchandise in various tariffs and different types of levies based on the commodities and the problems occurred. The complex system of the taxation would not be possible without involving the accounting in term of calculability. One of the particular developments of the accounting system in form of writing during the Singosari kingdom was related to the mechanism in which writing was used for the purpose of administration and accountability of the tax collection in the royal court of the Singosari kingdom. The records of tax collection were reflected in simple forms. For instance, the Inscription of Turyyan mentions that the earning of the society in a year was equal to 1 kati and 3 gold swarna.
Then it can be concluded that the development of accounting in Indonesia is not an instant process, but it emerged through a long and complex process of the history. The kingdom of Singosari used accounting as a technique to discipline the subjects under the kingdom’s territory. Through this study, it is clear that accounting had a significant role as a supporting means of the Singosari kingdom development. It did not merely provide the technical calculation, but also the diverse roles in social, economic, and political life.