Edited by Andreas Georg Scherer and Guido Palazzo
Chapter 20: The Political Economy of Corporate Social Responsibility
Subhabrata Bobby Banerjee Introduction This chapter contributes to the literature by developing a critical theoretical lens on business and politics to view the political economy of corporate social responsibility. Drawing on theoretical perspectives from economic sociology and political economics I discuss how relationships between governments and multinational enterprises (MNEs) discursively produce particular forms of social arrangements of various actors, institutions and networks, and examine the inclusions and exclusions that result. This political approach problematizes some of the key assumptions underlying politics and corporate social responsibility by shifting the level of analysis from the individual corporation to the political economy to reveal the discursive and material eﬀects produced by interactions between diﬀerent actors. The chapter also discusses a critical research agenda for future research corporate social responsibility in an attempt to broaden our understanding of what corporations can or cannot do to solve the world’s social problems. The chapter is organized as follows: ﬁrst, I discuss received knowledge about business–society relationships by discussing the literature on corporate political activity. Second, I outline a political–cultural approach to our understanding of institutions and markets as developed by Fligstein (2001). Drawing on institutional theory I start from the presumption that corporations are one of several groups of actors in institutional ﬁelds, domains or organized social spaces (Bourdieu 1977; DiMaggio 1985; Scott 1995) that attempt to produce a system of domination. Third, I apply this theoretical framework to understand how particular forms of social arrangements of various actors, institutions and networks...
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