The World Cup has highlighted Brazil’s dissatisfaction with the mega-development involved in building the tournament’s infrastructure. But the football stadiums are just the latest in a long line of Brazilian mega-developments, including building venues for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Belo Monte Dam and the Cuiaba-Santarem Highway – all of which have caused controversy.
Abstract: Multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) have become a vital part of the organizational landscape for corporate social responsibility. Recent debates have explored whether these initiatives represent opportunities for the “democratization” of transnational corporations, facilitating civic participation in the extension of corporate responsibility, or whether they constitute new arenas for the expansion of corporate influence and the private capture of regulatory power. In this article, we explore the political dynamics of these new governance initiatives by presenting an in-depth case study of an organization often heralded as a model MSI: the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). An effort to address global deforestation in the wake of failed efforts to agree a multilateral convention on forests at the Rio Summit (UNCED) in 1992, the FSC was launched in 1993 as a non-state regulatory experiment: a transnational MSI, administering a global eco-labeling scheme for timber and forest products. We trace the scheme’s evolution over the past two decades, showing that while the FSC has successfully facilitated multi-sectoral determination of new standards for forestry, it has nevertheless failed to transform commercial forestry practices or stem the tide of tropical deforestation. Applying a neo-Gramscian analysis to the organizational evolution of the FSC, we examine how broader market forces and resource imbalances between non-governmental and market actors can serve to limit the effectiveness of MSIs in the current neo-liberal environment. This presents dilemmas for NGOs which can lead to their defection, ultimately undermining the organizational legitimacy of MSIs.
Abstract: In this article we ask how ‘civil society’ actors and organizations can become constructed and treated as ‘uncivil society’. We contest the notion that ‘uncivil’ necessarily equates with the dark qualities of violence and organized criminality. Instead, we take a Gramscian perspective in suggesting that what becomes ‘uncivil’ is any practice and organization that substantially contests the structuring enclosures of hegemonic order, of which civil society is a necessary part. To trace this, we consider ways in which a global grass-roots media network called Indymedia has established and maintained itself as a counter-hegemonic media-producing organization. In this case, a conscious positioning and self-identification as counter-hegemonic has been accompanied by the framing and sometimes violent policing of nodes and practices of this network as ‘uncivil’ by cooperating state authorities. This is in the absence of association of this network with organized violence or crime. We intend our reflections to contribute to a deepening theorization of the terms ‘civil’ and ‘uncivil’ as they are becoming used in social movement and globalization studies.
Abstract: How do groups resist the apparently all-encompassing discourse of management? Rejecting current theories of resistance as ‘re-appropriation’ or ‘micro-politics’, we argue that resistance may be thought about as hegemonic struggle undertaken by social movements. We identify four major resistance movements that engage with management: unions, organizational misbehaviour, civic movements and civic movement organizations. We argue that these forms of resistance differ in terms of location (civil society or workplace) and strategy (political or infra-political). We chart out the possible interconnections between these different modes of resistance and detail how these interconnections are established. By doing this, the paper provides a framework for understanding the many forms of resistance movements that seek to disrupt the hegemonic discourse of management.