In an era of systemic crisis and of global critiques of the unsustainable perpetuation of capitalism, Pervasive Powers: The Politics of Corporate Authority critically questions the conditions for the maintenance and expansion of corporate power. The book explores empirical case studies in the realms of finance, urban policies, automobile safety, environmental risk, agriculture, and food in western democracies. It renews understanding of the power of big business, focusing on how the study of temporalities, of multi-sited influence and of sociotechnical tools is crucial to an analysis of the evolution of corporate authority.
Drawing on different literatures, ranging from research on business associations and global governance to that on the social production of ignorance or on corporate crime, this book aims at contributing to existing works on the capacity of corporations to rule the world. Unlike approaches focused on economic elites and on the political activities of firms, it goes beyond analysis of the power of corporations to influence policy-making to depict their unprecedented capacity to transform and shape the social world. Operating in numerous social spaces and mobilizing a wide range of strategies, corporate organizations have acquired the pervasive power to act far beyond mere spaces of regulation and government.
Based on contributions from historians, science and technology studies scholars, sociologists and political scientists, this book will be of great interest to researchers, academics and students who wish to understand how corporations exert a pervasive influence on public policies, and to NGOs and regulatory agencies.
Table of Contents
1. The Pervasiveness of Corporate Authority: Repertoire of Actions, Material Effects, and Democratic Challenges
Sara Angeli Aguiton, Marc-Olivier Déplaude, Nathalie Jas, Emmanuel Henry, and Valentin Thomas
2. The Making of the Spanish Pesticide Industry During the Early Francoist Dictatorship: Experts, Autarky, Agnotology, and Fascism
José Ramón Bertomeu-Sánchez
3. Corporate Systemic Ascendancy. Perspectives from the Pesticides Industry in Post-War France
4. From Research Funding to Public Relations: The Making of a Food Industry Think Tank in 1970s France
Thomas Depecker, Marc-Olivier Déplaude, and Nicolas Larchet
5. From Public Problem to Quiet Politics? How U.S. Automobile Insurers Mobilized for Regulation of the Industry (1959-1974)
6. Co-Producing the Rules of the Game: State, Insurance Companies and Private Equity in 1990s France
Marlène Benquet, Paul Lagneau Ymonet, and Fabien Foureault
7. Transnational Professional Service Firms and the Corporatization of Infrastructure Procurement
Chris Hurl and Anne Vogelpohl
Sara A. Aguiton is a Sociologist and STS scholar. She is a Permanent Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, France.
Marc-Olivier Déplaude is an Advanced Researcher in Sociology at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, France.
Nathalie Jas is an Advanced Researcher in History and STS at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, France.
Emmanuel Henry is a Professor of Sociology at the Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL University, France.
Valentin Thomas is a postdoctoral researcher at Sciences Po Lyon, France.