This project provides crucial insights into the transnational mobilisations and counter-mobilisations for holding multinational corporations and their representatives accountable for complicity in major international crimes (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity) committed during dictatorships and violent conflicts since the 1970s. It brings three major innovations to an emergent literature in the fields of transitional justice and international criminal law that recently turned its attention to corporate accountability: 1) It delivers a critical sociological analysis of both advocacy movements and business groups and associations involved in transnational accountability campaigns, focusing on their political, professional and regional activist agendas and divergent approaches to corporate liability. 2) It analyses various ideas and strategies of dealing with corporate violence and illuminates the socio-political conditions under which they succeed in enforcing accountability. 3) It explores how different visions of human rights, economic globalisation, development and democratisation shape accountability strategies. To achieve these objectives, the project focuses on four types of transnational campaigns that spread across the Global South and the Global North and on the resulting response from states, international organisations, and business groups: a) advocacy for criminalising corporate misconduct in international/regional treaties; b) civil and criminal litigations; c) legislative initiatives for prohibiting trade with and investment in dictatorial settings; and d) boycotts. Through its global geographical scope, the diversity of pro-accountability actors and business groups involved, and the plurality of repertoires and arenas of transnational activism, the project examines both the convergence of an international anti-impunity ethos and the fragmentation of ideas about corporate accountability on a global level.
Fields of science
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