A Foucauldian investigation of CSR and the concept of responsibility

Engel, Cecile (2015) A Foucauldian investigation of CSR and the concept of responsibility. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Abstract

Purpose – The dissertation aims to highlight a potential new intellection of CSR – and especially of the concept of responsibility – from CMS theoretical perspectives and Foucault’s theories of sovereignty and governmentality.

Design/methodology/approach – The reinterpretation proposed in this paper is based on the denaturalization and subsequent theorization of CSR as an expression of the new spirit of capitalism. The author connects Foucauldian notions of sovereignty and governmentality and the post-modern shift in the concept of responsibility.

Findings – The ideological core of the CSR concept corresponds to a Foucauldian sovereign approach to responsibility, in contrast to a contemporary neo-liberal governmental one shaping individuals.

Originality/value – The paper proposes to go beyond the nature of CSR – i.e. an expression of the new spirit of capitalism (Boltanski and Chiapello, 2005) – as the only sufficient reason to explain and justify why CSR was meant to fail or not even worth a try. A view of CSR as a place of paradox for the concept of responsibility is argued.

Dissertation type – Conceptual dissertation.

Purpose – Extended – Previous research in the Critical Management Studies (CMS) field have failed to go beyond the nature of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as an expression of the new spirit of capitalism (Boltanski and Chiapello, 2005). The outcome of the denaturalizing process was taken as the only sufficient reason to explain and justify why CSR was meant to fail or not even worth a try. This dissertation examines the relationship between the idea and implementation of CSR and Foucauldian notions of sovereignty and governmentality. In particular, the dissertation exhibits a shift in the concept of responsibility resulting from a modification of the traditional authority of the state and identifies a paradox between an “old” version of responsibility tied to the notion of sovereignty and kept as ideal for corporations to follow in CSR literature, and a “new” version of responsibility attached to the notion of neo-liberal governmentality shaping individuals.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: Critical Management Studies, Corporate Social Responsibility, Foucault, governmentality, sovereignty, responsibility.
Depositing User: Engel, Cecile
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2016 13:54
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 07:48
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/30102

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