TOWARDS A SOCIO-POLITICAL THEORISING OF THE CORPORATION (FIRM) – A PROBLEM STATEMENT
Economies and corporations are increasingly being characterized as financialized. The separation of ownership and control is at the core of this development and we depart from an understanding that Jensen & Meckling’s (1976) theory of the firm actualizes or performs the current situation. The purpose of this essay is to radicalize this contemporary dominant version and thereby move towards a socio-political theorizing of the corporation (firm). Our method is to examine and reactivate historical constructs of the corporation, with sensitivity to the socio-historical contexts in which these constructs developed. By divorcing Jensen & Meckling’s theory of the firm from various historical constructs of the corporation, we e.g. find that ‘sovereign corporateness with limited liability’, ‘unlimited liability of individual entrepreneurs’ and ‘statesmanship of the post-war era’ are obscured and lost under a doctrine of micro-economics. We end the essay with two propositions on how to: 1) engage in research with the purpose of dismantling the existing conditions of possibility of contemporary financialization of the corporation and 2) theorise a new post-financialized corporation (firm) to be actualized.
corporation; performativity; socio-political theorizing; firm; ‘separation of ownership and control’