Tauzer, J., CSR and the Hermeneutical Renovation of Foucault’s Toolbox
(2023) Sustainability (Switzerland), 15 (5), art. no. 4682, .
This article aims to examine Foucault’s conceptual toolbox (methodology, conceptual tools, and conceptual meta-tools) in relation to the socio-historical analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and of the corporation. The article has a bidirectional purpose: it aims to use Foucault’s toolbox to analyze CSR, and to use the occasion of applying Foucault to CSR to reflect on the interpretation, critical potential, and adequacy of Foucault’s conceptual toolbox. It starts with some preliminary work: a review and rework of an interpretation of Foucault’s conceptual toolbox by Koopman and Matza. With this interpretationally revised toolbox in mind, it then initiates a Foucauldian approach to the research field of ‘the corporation’ and the sub-field of CSR. Most of the first half of this article demonstrates that Foucault’s toolbox offers a fruitful start to tackling these fields. The second half of the article takes up a counterpoint in the reverse direction, namely that Foucault’s toolbox is not equipped for adequately apprehending the interpretative play and flexibility operating within CSR discourse. This leads to a suggestion of three ways to incorporate hermeneutic tools into Foucault’s toolbox, and to an exemplification of how such toolbox renovation sheds new light on the tactics and power dynamics of CSR discourse. © 2023 by the author.
concepts; corporation; CSR; discourse; dispositive; Foucault; hermeneutics; methodology
corporate social responsibility, corporate strategy, hermeneutics, tool use, type of article