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Corporate Social Responsibility?Human Rights in the New Global Economy$
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Charlotte Walker-Said and John D. Kelly

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226244273

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226244440.001.0001

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Virtuous Language in Industry and the Academy

Virtuous Language in Industry and the Academy

(p.92) Chapter Five Virtuous Language in Industry and the Academy
Corporate Social Responsibility?

Stuart Kirsch

University of Chicago Press

What does it mean that business and the academy suddenly seem to be speaking the same language? This chapter argues that the discourses of sustainability and corporate social responsibility are examples of “strategically deployable shifters” that facilitate conversations across a range of social and political positions. It shows how the mining industry mobilizes these discourses in response to external pressure in contrast to claims about corporate enlightenment or the business case for social responsibility and sustainability. It also examines the audiences for these discourses and how corporations demonstrate their commitment to them. Finally, the chapter considers how these strategically deployable shifters promote uncritical acceptance of the virtuous language of responsibility and sustainability in the academy, including related claims about the ability of corporations and the market to solve problems of their own making.

Keywords:   corporate social responsibility, critique, mining, sustainability, strategically deployable shifters, universities, virtuous language

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