The corporation and its importance to human geography: advancing new critical perspectives 1

Type: Paper
Theme:
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Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Empire Room, Omni, West
Organizers: Crispian Fuller, Jennifer Johns
Chairs: Jennifer Johns

Call for Submissions

There is little doubt that the vanguard of contemporary global capitalism is the ‘multinational corporation’, with its broadranging influence and imbrication within social, economic, political and environmental everyday life. As Baars and Spicer (2017) argue, ‘no longer is it the state which brings us into the cradle and then lays us out in the grave. It is, increasingly, the corporation’ (Baars and Spicer, 2017: 1). Yet, within human geography the corporation has tended to be treated as an empirical subject, typically as part of much broader studies, rather than as an agent requiring conceptualisation and empirical investigation. Indeed, critical engagement with the corporation is significant given its encroachment into and entrenchment within social life through a number of arenas, and which has implications for various human geography sub-disciplines. This includes, for example, the role of corporations in platform capitalism (economic geography); precarious work (labour geography); labour smart cities and urban financialisation (urban geography); neoliberalism and the nation state (political geography); and agribusiness, environment and development (environmental and development geography).

What is of critical importance, however, is the understanding that the corporation should be viewed as a multidimensional and uneven ‘transnational social space’ (Morgan 2001) and ‘contested terrain’ rather than a homogeneous entity (Fuller and Phelps, 2017). This suggests that engaging such a disparate socio-spatial actor is critical for the discipline, not least because it works through various topographical and topological geographical relations (Allen, 2016).

This session aims to critically engage perspectives of the corporation in human geography, and explore the nature and impact of this actor in the contemporary world. It seeks to bring together both empirical and conceptual papers that outline geographical perspectives of the corporation across all human geography sub-disciplines, and in reference to both the Global North and South. Potential questions include, but are not restricted to:

• How is the corporation presently conceptualised in human geography, and what potential avenues exist for advancing our understandings?
• What concepts can be deployed in the examination and greater understanding of the corporation?
• How can feminist, cultural and postcolonial theories contribute to our understanding of the contemporary corporation?
• What methodologies can be utilised in the examination of corporations?
• What are the geographical relations of the corporation?
• What is the role of geography and different forms of capitalist society in producing divergent corporate forms?
• Does ‘time’ have important dialectical role to play with space in understanding the corporation?
• How important are more-than-human actors and objects in the conceptualisation of the corporation?
• How might a geographical conception of the corporation be used in the examination of the political, social, economic and environment injustices produced by such actors?
• How can we understand the intra- and extra- practices and (power) relations of the corporation, and through what geographical concepts?
• How can human geographers influence understandings of the corporation in other discipline?


Description

There is little doubt that the vanguard of contemporary global capitalism is the ‘multinational corporation’, with its broadranging influence and imbrication within social, economic, political and environmental everyday life. As Baars and Spicer (2017) argue, ‘no longer is it the state which brings us into the cradle and then lays us out in the grave. It is, increasingly, the corporation’ (Baars and Spicer, 2017: 1). Yet, within human geography the corporation has tended to be treated as an empirical subject, typically as part of much broader studies, rather than as an agent requiring conceptualisation and empirical investigation. Indeed, critical engagement with the corporation is significant given its encroachment into and entrenchment within social life through a number of arenas, and which has implications for various human geography sub-disciplines. This includes, for example, the role of corporations in platform capitalism (economic geography); precarious work (labour geography); labour smart cities and urban financialisation (urban geography); neoliberalism and the nation state (political geography); and agribusiness, environment and development (environmental and development geography). What is of critical importance, however, is the understanding that the corporation should be viewed as a multidimensional and uneven ‘transnational social space’ (Morgan 2001) and ‘contested terrain’ rather than a homogeneous entity (Fuller and Phelps, 2017). This suggests that engaging such a disparate socio-spatial actor is critical for the discipline, not least because it works through various topographical and topological geographical relations (Allen, 2016). This session aims to critically engage perspectives of the corporation in human geography, and explore the nature and impact of this actor in the contemporary world. It seeks to bring together both empirical and conceptual papers that outline geographical perspectives of the corporation across all human geography sub-disciplines, and in reference to both the Global North and South.


Agenda

Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Jayme Walenta*, University of Texas - Austin, Undoing Homo Economicus: de-centering dominant corporate authorships 20 8:00 AM
Presenter Andrew Jones*, City, University of London, Critically engaging with the practices of global corporations: an economic geographical approach 20 8:20 AM
Presenter Yuko Aoyama*, Clark University, Corporations as Social Agents 20 8:40 AM
Presenter Crispian Fuller*, Cardiff University, Towards a spatially deliberative theory of the corporation: The case of corporate responses to Brexit 20 9:00 AM
Presenter Christian May*, Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, Re-nationalizing the Corporation: Political Foundations of Corporate Outreach 20 9:20 AM

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