Capitalism, governance, and authority: The case of corporate social responsibility

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The career of corporate social responsibility (CSR) indicates that it evolved into a field of private and self-regulation that bears all the hallmarks of new governance. Accordingly, this review offers an analysis of CSR as a reflection on the governance turn in sociolegal studies. It relies on the literature to show (a) that socially responsible corporate practices developed in response to public critique of corporate powers and (b) that the emergent field of CSR shows capitalism's ability to transform critique into commercial and managerial assets. Devoting specific attention to the role of academic research and theory in consolidating the framework of new governance, the review reflects upon the trajectory of law in latter-day capitalism and theorizes governance as the privatization of the sources and instruments of authority.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-553
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Law and Social Science
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Multinational corporations
  • Neoliberalism
  • Self-regulation
  • Sociology of law


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