The de-radicalization of corporate social responsibility

Ronen Shamir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper situates the field of action known as "corporate social responsibility" within the theoretical context of global capitalism. I posit that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a field of action that is shaped through the interplay of popular pressures and the response of corporations to such pressures thereof. Specifically, I analyze this field as consisting of a symbolic struggle over the meaning of the term "social responsibility." I analyze a set of corporate practices relating to CSR and show how they shape the notion of responsibility in ways that diffuse its radical transformative potential. In particular, I look at various corporate strategies designed to prevent the use of law as means for bringing about greater corporate accountability. I also discuss particular agents that mobilize the CSR field. Specifically, I discuss the establishment of corporate-sponsored and corporate-oriented NGOs and analyze the role they play in structuring the CSR field. I designate such organizations as MaNGOs (Market Non-Governmental Organizations) and suggest that such organizations shape notions such as "social responsibility" and "social change" in ways that are amenable to business and employers' concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-689
Number of pages21
JournalCritical Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004


  • Anti-corporate activism
  • Corporate citizenship
  • Global capitalism
  • Globalization
  • Multinational corporations


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