Edited by Andreas Nölke and Christian May
Chapter 19: The corporation and violent conflict: perspectives, policy responses and future trends
This chapter examines the relationship between the corporation and violent conflict that has dominated several narratives and their attendant policy responses. In the first, a private sector provides the lynchpin for peaceful development, helping to address conflict and violence. International institutions and state-building attempt to engineer an enabling environment for investment by international corporations. In the second narrative, international corporations are seen as a prime cause of conflict and violence in difficult environments. A variety of actors therefore mobilize to contain the perceived abuses of companies and hold them to account in national or international forums. In the third narrative, the corporation is part and parcel of a complex conflict system, with the potential for companies to exacerbate or ameliorate conflict depending on the quality of their own actions. This narrative has fostered attention to conflict-sensitive business practices and affirmative corporate roles in peace-building. Yet, the analysis of all three narratives and responses suggests that they are insufficient to manage contemporary and future conflict risks. Solutions to conflict are conceivable if based on the premise that even the most acute conflict is manageable when dealt with pragmatically, locally, and on its own terms.
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