Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Corporate power in international natural resource governance : a sociological perspective on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
Author: Fernandes da Costa, Aleksandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 7549
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
An emerging consensus in the academic literature explicitly recognises large corporations as political actors. Against this background, this research investigates how corporate power operates through political practices in international multi-stakeholder governance processes and how it is legitimised. The central focus of research is the EITI, a sophisticated and well regarded international standard for natural resource governance in which corporations from the extractive industries and institutional investors have been granted decision-making rights at the Board level. Moreover, the research aims at understanding the consequences of corporate power on the Standard's design and performance. Relying on a conceptual framework based on the writings of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, this thesis proposes a refined theoretical approach to corporate power by introducing the concepts of corporate symbolic authority and corporate political practice. This research was undertaken using a mixed-methods approach consisting of content analysis, interviews and participant observation. The findings suggest that companies are privileged partners in the EITI while members from resource-rich countries are effectively disadvantaged. The companies' privileged status is legitimised through taken-for-granted-assumptions portraying them as positive, responsible and exceptional agents. It rests on possession and deployment of various forms of resources, and is enshrined into EITI's principles and procedures. Thus, despite EITI's emphasis on transparency, inclusion and equality (in decision-making), the Standard ultimately reflects and perpetuates the existing power asymmetries which cause disempowerment and poverty of people in resource-rich countries in the first place. This effectively undermines EITI's impact and outcome. In conclusion, the argument is presented that by including corporations into international governance processes already influential actors not only gain direct access to decision-making, but additionally to symbolic authority. This further enhances and consolidates corporate power with substantial consequences for legitimate and effective governance at the international level. Therefore, this thesis enhances our understanding of corporate power and its deployment in multi-stakeholder governance at the international level.
Supervisor: Wilks, Stephen Sponsor: University of Exeter
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: corporate power ; natural resource governance ; multi-stakeholder initiatives ; corruption ; transparency