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Marina Andrea Welker
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Global capitalism and the “caring corporation”: Mining and the corporate social responsibility movement in Indonesia and DenverMarina Andrea Welker
University of Michigan
This dissertation is an ethnographic examination of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement in the mining industry. Using Newmont Mining Corporation in Denver and Newmont's Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Sumbawa (Indonesia) as case studies, I trace the emergence and dynamics of CSR in relation to neoliberal policies, civil society, contemporary development trends, and competing moral discourses. The promotion and expansion of corporate activity through neoliberal policies over the past two decades has generated countermovements and public demands for corporate accountability and restraint. In reaction, corporations have proposed to voluntarily regulate themselves and establish new partnerships with civil society "stakeholders." I approach CSR as an internal and external extension of corporate power and knowledge that reconfigures corporations and the social contexts in which they operate. From activist critics and the development industry, CSR experts have appropriated a moral lexicon of sustainability, participation, empowerment, transparency, accountability, and good governance that they apply to stakeholders. Corporate agents use these moral discourses, sometimes coercively, to underscore the responsibilities of stakeholders as opposed to their rights or entitlements. In chapters on Newmont's interactions with Indonesian contractors, peasant farmers, government officials, and transnational advocacy networks, I analyze these moral discourses as well as social struggles over how Newmont's responsibility is properly defined and enacted around the Batu Hijau mine. Within Newmont, CSR experts rationalize new expenditures and behavioral routines with the "business case" claim that CSR safeguards profits, enhances public reputation, and manages social risks. To back up this claim and install CSR practices, experts institute calculating and auditing technologies to render the practices of distant corporate agents visible and quantifiable, as well as to foster self-auditing capacities among employees. CSR efforts to impose new moral discourses and calculating practices on corporate and external subjects often yield unpredictable consequences and create new terrains for negotiating corporate practice. Yet these new terrains are dominated by corporations and civil society representatives rather than by actors who are held publicly accountable via democratic mechanisms.
Social sciences; Colorado; Corporate social responsibility; Denver; Global capitalism; Indonesia; Mining; Cultural anthropology; Management; Globalization; Capitalism; Mining industry; Corporate responsibility; Social responsibility; Studies; United States--US; 0326:Cultural anthropology; 0454:Management
E. W. Keane, Jr.
University of Michigan
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