Competing Sovereignties: Corporate Social Responsibility, Oil Extraction, and Indigenous Subjectivity in Ecuador
KeywordsCorporate social responsibility
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AbstractCorporate social responsibility (CSR) programs developed in recent years as the business response to social and environmental criticism of corporate operations, and are most debated in those societies where neoliberalism emerged most prominently, the United States and the United Kingdom. My dissertation expands these debates investigating the CSR programs of a Spanish-owned multinational oil company, Repsol-YPF operating in the Ecuadorian Amazon region. It explores CSR programs as institutions that can facilitate ongoing resource extraction, and particular technologies of rule that serve to discipline indigenous peoples at the point of extraction. I conducted an institutional ethnography to examine the social relationships produced through CSR programs, and contend that the relationships formed within CSR programs enable ongoing resource extraction. This dissertation argues that CSR programs produce entanglements between state, corporate and indigenous actors that lead to competing and conflicting spaces of governance in Ecuador. These entanglements reflect the Ecuadorian state's attempts to 'erase' indigenous difference in the name of securing wealth and membership in the nation-state. In turn, CSR programs can both contain indigenous mobilization and resistance in Ecuador, but also highlight indigenous difference and rights and access to resources, predicated on membership in the nation-state. To that end, the dissertation is attentive to the ambivalence and uncertainty of indigenous actors produced through engagement with corporate capital, and suggests that ambivalence can also be a productive space.