From ‘Corporate Crime’ to Corporate ‘States of Exception’

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Date(s) - 17 Apr 2014
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Room N302, Menzies Building, Monash University

Dave Whyte, University of Liverpool, UK

Corporate and white collar crime has been an ever present, if peripheral, theme in sociology for a large part of the past century.  A consistent theme in this work has been the conceptualisation of corporations as ‘outside’ or standing in opposition to, the rule of law.  Thus, it is now an established orthodoxy that corporations can be shown to commit crime routinely; it is no longer controversial to assert that corporations kill more people, maim more people and steal much more from people than all other criminal ‘types’, and that a great deal of this killing and stealing is ‘illegal’.   Yet, at the same time we cannot avoid the residual fact of law that the corporation derives its ability to act from the legal form that is its raison d’être.  This paper will argue that it is corporate ‘states of exception’ that constitute a key source of corporate power.  This is especially apparent where economic force confronts workers’ rights in the context of what the paper calls ‘naked labour’.   The paper will argue that an understanding of the corporation as an exceptional structure of power impels us move beyond a narrow concept of ‘corporate crime’ to demand fundamental structural change to the legal foundation of corporate power.

Dave Whyte is Reader in Sociology at the University of Liverpool where he conducts research on the relationship between law and state-corporate power.  His books include Crimes of the Powerful (Open University Press, 2009) and Regulatory Surrender (Institute of Employment Rights, 2010 with Steve Tombs).  He is currently engaged in long-term collaborative research with UK Corporate Watch and the Institute of Employment Rights.

Thursday 17th April 1-2 pm, Room N302 (3rd Floor, Menzies Building, Monash University Clayton)

RSVP to by Tuesday 15th April 2014

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