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An Exogenous Path of Development

Explaining the Rise of Corporate Social Responsibility in China

Ka Lin, Dan Banik, and Longfei Yi

The corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda, which was developed and consolidated in the West, became particularly influential as the basis for business ethics and company morale at the start of the new millennium. As reported, almost 90

Open access

CSR and the Public/Private Divide

A Response to Ellen Hertz

Ioannis Kampourakis

Ellen Hertz's manifold critique of corporate social responsibility (CSR) paradoxically begins by establishing common ground with the ardent defender of free market capitalism and an otherwise political opponent to her normative framework, Milton

Open access

CSR Practices and the Political Corporation in Law

Anna Beckers

In her article ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: The Great Shell Game’, Ellen Hertz suggests that there is an inherent danger of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to obscure the public/private divide. By means of strategically engaging with

Open access

Between social footprint and compliance, or “what IBAMA wants”

Equinor Brazil's social sustainability policy

Iselin Åsedotter Strønen

livelihoods. Participating at the fair with homemade handicrafts is an example of the latter. The project is not a voluntary CSR (corporate social responsibility) project, but a prerequisite of the Brazilian state for Equinor's operating license in the

Free access


Ethnographies of corporate ethicizing

Catherine Dolan and Dinah Rajak

As the global community confronts increasing economic, social, and environmental challenges, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement has demonstrated a powerful capacity to offer itself up as a solution, circulating new ethical regimes of accountability and sustainability in business. This article introduces five contributions that explore ethnographically the meanings, practices, and impact of corporate social and environmental responsibility across a range of transnational corporations and geographical locations (India, South Africa, the UK, Chile, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In each of these contexts corporations are performing ethics in different ways and to different ends, from the mundane to the ritualistic and from the discursive to the material, drawing a range of actors, interests, and agendas into the moral fold of CSR. Yet across these diverse sites a set of common tensions in the practice and discourse of CSR emerge, as the supposedly “win-win” marriage between the social and the technical, the market and morality, and the natural and the cultural becomes routinized in global management practice. By tracing the connections and conflicts between the local micropolitics of corporate engagement and the global movements of CSR, the collection reveals the ambiguous and shifting nature of CSR and the ways in which social and environmental relations are transformed through the regime of ethical capitalism.

Open access

Standardizing responsibility through the stakeholder figure

Norwegian hydropower in Turkey

Ståle Knudsen, Ingrid Birce Müftüoğlu, and Isabelle Hugøy

corporate social responsibility (CSR) officer for their large construction site Çetin in southeast Turkey—a project that confronted a variety of challenges, including political conflict among impacted communities. In reviewing candidates, they were looking

Open access

Doing global investments the Nordic way

The “business case” for Equinor's support to union work among its employees in Tanzania

Siri Lange

Multinational corporations (MNCs) engaged in resource extraction in the Global South have been heavily criticized. One response by MNCs has been to formulate corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies ( Gilberthorpe and Rajak 2017 ). CSR is

Open access

Promising pipelines and hydrocarbon nationalism

The sociality of unbuilt infrastructure in indigenous Siberia

Gertjan Plets

By analysing how shamanist nomads who previously opposed large infrastructure works have suddenly become enchanted by the prospect of the construction of a large gas pipeline, this paper ethnographically investigates how technology and infrastructure become perceived as promising by ordinary people on the ground in post‐Soviet Siberia. Drawing attention to the discursive impact of large gas corporations and the role of deeply embedded Soviet conceptions of modernity in filling pipelines with cultural meaning, this paper provides unique insights into the highly localised engagements with infrastructure. As such, this paper contributes to the anthropology of Russia, where infrastructure has only recently received academic attention. It also corresponds to the ‘infrastructural turn’ in anthropology by studying the social, cultural and material conditions ensuring that infrastructure becomes perceived as promising. Furthermore, this paper explores the significant impact of ancillary infrastructures connected to a construction project in entangling people with technology and infrastructure.

Open access

Response to my critics

Ellen Hertz

briefly below. I wish, however, to maintain the general thrust of my argument, and even to double down. With my title, I make an analogy between CSR and the confidence trick played by street operators who move pennies quickly between plastic cups and ask

Free access

Closeness and critique among Brazilian philanthropists

Navigating a critical ethnography of wealth elites

Jessica Sklair

, this article focuses on the role played in elite succession processes by philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, and on family and corporate narratives on (historical and contemporary) commitment to these practices. 2 Large