Through the development of CSR ratings, metrics and management tools, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is currently materialized at an unprecedented scale within and across organizations. However, the material dimension of CSR and the inherent political potential in this materialization have been neglected. Drawing on insights from Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and the critical discussion of current approaches to power in CSR studies, we offer an alternative sociomaterial conceptualization of power in order to clarify how power works through materialized forms of CSR. We develop a framework that explains both how power is constituted within materialized forms of CSR through a process of ‘assembling / disassembling’, and how power is performed by materialized CSR through a process of ‘overflowing / framing’. From this framework, we derive tactics that clarify how CSR materialization can be seized by marginalized actors to ‘recover’ CSR. By theorizing the materiality of power and the power of materiality inherent to CSR, our analysis provides renews an approach to CSR as politically and materially performed.
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