Cultural Critique and the Global Corporation

Cultural Critique and the Global Corporation

Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Format: Paperback 13 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22162-9
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This book examines the stories that corporations tell about themselves—and explores the powerful influence of corporations in the transformation of cultural and social life. Six case studies draw on CEO memoirs, annual reports, management manuals, advertising campaigns, and other sources to analyze the self-representations and rhetorical maneuvers that corporations use to obscure the full extent of their power. Images of corporate character and responsibility are intertwined with the changes in local economy, politics, and culture wrought by globalization and neoliberalism. The contributors to this volume describe the effects of specific corporate practices on individuals and communities and how activists and academics are responding to labor and environmental abuses.

Author Bio

Purnima Bose is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Cultural Studies Program at Indiana University Bloomington. She is author of Organizing Empire: Individualism, Collective Agency, and India.

Laura E. Lyons is Associate Professor of English at the University of Hawai'i.


Corporations and their CEOs are in the position of Scheherazade. As long as they have a story to tell that is at least captivating enough they can keep themselves alive for one more day. But there is increasing demand that these narratives be reliable and have some mimetic accuracy. Within the complex web of social, political and economic relationships that constitute 'the world of business,' some stories are getting harder to sell.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Toward a Critical Corporate Studies \ Purnima Bose and Laura E. Lyons
1. General Electric, Corporate Personhood, and the Emergence of the Professional Manager \ Purnima Bose
2. Dole, Hawai'i, and the Question of Land under Globalization \ Laura E. Lyons
3. "To Build a Better World": Bechtel, a Family Company \ Heather Zwicker
4. Diamonds, IDBism, and De Beers \ Barbara Harlow
5. Necessity and Desire: Water and Coca-Cola in India \ S. Shankar
6. Mind Your Own Business: Cisco Systems in the Power/Knowledge Network \ John Zuern
Afterword \ Christopher Newfield


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