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Edited by Andreas Georg Scherer and Guido Palazzo
Chapter 23: The Corporation and its Fragments: Corporate Citizenship and the Legacies of Imperialism
Raza Mir, Richard Marens and Ali Mir The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a diﬀerent complexion or slightly ﬂatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselﬁsh belief in the idea – something you can set up, and bow down before, and oﬀer a sacriﬁce to . . . (Joseph Conrad 1899 , p. 65) Introduction The role of corporations in the process of colonialism and imperialism has been well documented, from the sugar plantations in 16th-century Haiti (Ahluwalia et al. 1999) to the East India Company in 18th-century India (Guha 1989), and from allegations about the dubious role played by oil companies in 19th-century Middle East (Prashad 2007) to concerns about carpetbagger corporations in 21st-century Iraq (Tappan 2004). Accounts of corporate behavior in poorer nations have suggested a pattern of malfeasance, often in coordination with colonial and imperial states. In this chapter, however, we are less concerned with unearthing and cataloguing these oﬀenses than we are with exploring the ways in which organizational theory has been deployed to naturalize these actions, to render them unremarkable or in some cases, liberatory. In light of the epigraph to this chapter, we are attempting to highlight (and historicize) the ‘idea’ that has been deployed to legitimize global corporate accumulation. Our...
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