Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation

Edited by Andreas Nölke and Christian May

Over the past few decades, corporations have been neglected in studies of international political economy (IPE). Seeking to demystify them, what they are, how they behave and their goals and constraints, this Handbook introduces the corporation as a unit of analysis for students of IPE. Providing critical discussion of their global and domestic power, and highlighting the ways in which corporations interact with each other and with their socio-political environment, this Handbook presents a thorough and up-to-date overview of the main debates around the role of corporations in the global political economy.
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Chapter 19: The corporation and violent conflict: perspectives, policy responses and future trends

Brian Ganson and Achim Wennmann

Abstract

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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