Mining companies as trustees of society in Colombia: company and community ambiguities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch


This book chapter explores corporate power as a process that is constantly being negotiated, as it implies fundamental dilemmas of responsibility and is embedded in the paradoxes of relations of dependence. The chapter explores some of the limits to what the Foucauldian analysis, often used in political ecology, can provide to the study of corporate power. The chapter takes its point of departure in the fact that companies are ultimately not interested in becoming surrogate states, though at the same time they often come to occupy a position as a trustee of society. Companies therefore continuously navigate their positions and level of engagement in society because both internal differences among employees and external pressures from society and the market lead them to govern people only as much as they need in order to secure
their investments and profitability. The chapter also addresses some of the ambivalences that the paradox of dependence creates for local communities, as they often both resist the mine and want more autonomy from it, while at the same time also wanting the benefits the company can provide.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationASA 2019: Anthropological perspectives on global challenges
Number of pages20
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020
SeriesAssociation of Social Anthropologists of the Commonwealth (ASA) monographs

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