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CSR as Governmentality

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Modern governmental approaches to CSR (corporate social responsibility) have two distinguishing traits: they tend to define competitiveness as their primary concern and to make use of liberal and indirect means of steering. Contributing to a political understanding of CSR and focusing empirically on developments within the EU, this paper approaches CSR governance in general and competitiveness-driven CSR governance in particular from the point of view of an analytics of governmentality – thus introducing governmentality studies to the field of CSR. The aim of the paper is first, conceptually, to make sense of the governmentality approach in terms of the practical brand of critique it embodies and its positioning vis-à-vis other comparable contributions to our understanding of the government of CSR. And second, analytically, to propose a framework for analyzing the governmentalities of CSR.

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Steen Vallentin, David Murillo

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