Purpose – This purpose of this paper is to investigate the introduction of French theory into English language accounting research and to assess the impact of the work of French social theorists on the accounting research domain. Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents a citation analysis of articles appearing in selected English language accounting research journals for a sample of French authors, during the periods from the inception of the journals to mid-2009. In performing this citation analysis, 39 French authors who are well known as social theorists, philosophers, economists or sociologists were included. The accounting research journals chosen for analysis included the top four journals listed in many league tables for accounting research along with several journals that regularly publish research in accounting history or that focus on alternative research paradigms. Findings – The citation analysis identified the following French authors as being the most frequently cited: Michel Foucault, followed by Bruno Latour and Pierre Bourdieu. The citation analysis also identified the English language accounting research journals in which French social theorists have been most often cited. The two most significant journals have been Critical Perspectives on Accounting and Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, followed by Accounting Organizations and Society, Management Accounting Research and European Accounting Review. The analysis also shows the effects of mimeticism, which seems to have produced a sort of isomorphism in the styles of publication. Accounting, Organizations and Society, appears to be the standard-setter of the critical-interpretive field of accounting research. Originality/value – This paper is the first known to provide a comprehensive analysis of the introduction of French theory into English language accounting research.