Nature as a subaltern : the colonial power of corporations over the environment and humans

University essay from Lunds universitet/Humanekologi

Abstract: In this essay I attempt to examine corporations through the lens of postcolonial theory in order to investigate whether corporations and their actions can be better understood using a post-colonial analysis. I have investigated if we can understand corporations as transnational power structures rather than as only commercial businesses and what new perspectives that could give us. In my research I have attempted to answer the question “Are corporate actions turning nature into a Subaltern?” by using a case study analysing Monsanto´s history of operations and applying postcolonial theories exploring any potential meaningful links. I hope that applying post-colonial theory to our understanding of corporations can help in understanding the power they hold and the consequences of that power. Further I hope that applying a post-colonial lens can bring a deeper understanding and a new perspective to the way the, supposedly, increasing powers of transnational corporations affect nature and humans. Post-colonial theory has been essential in understanding the repercussions of colonial power structures on our “post”-colonial world. It has been essential in questioning and moving away from the western-centric mindset that has in many ways shaped our modern world. I wonder if post-colonial theory can do to our understanding of corporate powers (and business as usual) what it did to our understanding of colonial state-led powers. With this thesis I seek to Illustrate how post-colonial concepts can shine a much needed new light and understanding to the power structures that are currently governing our world so that we can move forward with less violence and more justice when we go on to create our collective future.

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