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From CSR to RSC: A Contribution to the Critique of the Political Economy of Corporate Social Responsibility

Sandoval, M. (2015). From CSR to RSC: A Contribution to the Critique of the Political Economy of Corporate Social Responsibility. Review of Radical Political Economics, 47(4), pp. 608-624. doi: 10.1177/0486613415574266


The task of this paper is to trace the academic discourse on corporate social responsibility (CSR) by discussing how CSR approaches and models relate profit goals and social goals of the corporation. I show that CSR approaches that dominate the academic discourse either instrumentalize the social, idealize the corporate, or separate the corporate from the social. Based on a critical political economy perspective I argue that it is necessary to consider mutual interrelations between profit goals and social goals. This perspective reveals an antagonism between the corporate and the social that points to the impossibility of CSR. Critical CSR research thus far has failed to draw the necessary conclusions from its own analysis: despite acknowledging the structural flaws of the concept of CSR, critics have hardly made any attempts to overcome it. I argue that despite its ideological character CSR contains a rational element. Realizing this rational kernel however requires going beyond CSR. I therefore suggest a new concept that turns CSR off its head and places it upon its feet.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2015
Publisher Keywords: corporate social responsibility, critical political economy, communism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Departments: City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences
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