The Political Ontology of Corporate Social Responsibility: Obscuring the Pluriverse in Place

Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes*, Steffen Böhm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines corporate social responsibility (CSR) through the lens of political ontology. We contend that CSR is not only a discursive mean of legitimization but an inherently ontological practice through which particular worlds become real. CSR enables the politics of place-making, connecting humans and nonhumans in specific territorial configurations in accordance with corporate needs and interests. We discuss three CSR mechanisms of singularization that create a particular corporate ontology in place: (1) community engagements that form ‘stakeholders’; (2) CSR standards and certifications that produce singular sustainable environments; and (3) CSR reporting that erases ontological conflicts and enables the singularized representation (of the environment and the community) to travel to other locations of the corporate world. We argue that these ontological CSR practices obscure the pluriverse of other world and place-making practices that would create different kinds of sustainabilities based on less extractive and non-corporate ways of being in place.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Business Ethics
Publication statusPublished - 01.08.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • singularization
  • sustainibility
  • pluriverse
  • political ontology
  • territorial struggles


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