Constructing Corporate America: History, Politics, Culture

Overview

Why and how has the Business Corporation come to exert such a powerful influence on American Society? The essays here take up this question, offering a fresh perspective on the ways in which the business corporation has assumed as enduring place in the modern capitalist economy, and how it has affected American society, culture and politics over the past two centuries. The authors challenge standard assumptions about the business corporation's emergence and performance in the United States over the past two ...

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Overview

Why and how has the Business Corporation come to exert such a powerful influence on American Society? The essays here take up this question, offering a fresh perspective on the ways in which the business corporation has assumed as enduring place in the modern capitalist economy, and how it has affected American society, culture and politics over the past two centuries. The authors challenge standard assumptions about the business corporation's emergence and performance in the United States over the past two centuries. Reviewing in depth the different theoretical and historiographical traditions that have treated the corporation, the volume seeks a new departure that can more fully explain this crucial institution of capitalism. Rejecting assertions that the corporation is dead, the essays show that in fact it has survived and even thrived down to the present in part because of the ways in which it has related to its social, political and cultural environment. In doing so, the book breaks with older explanations ground in technology and economics, and treats the corporation for the first time as a fully social institution. Drawing on a variety of social theories and approaches, the essays help to point the way toward future studies of this powerful and enduring institution, offering a new periodization and a new set of questions for scholars to explore. The range of essays engages the legal and political position of the corporation, the ways in which the corporation has been shaped by and shaped American culture, the controversies over corporate regulation and corporate power, and the efforts of minority and disadvantaged groups to gain access to the resources and opportunities that corporations control.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The great achievements of Constructing Corporate America lie in its compelling demonstrations that US corporations' forms, functions, and discourses evolved—and still change—as products of their cultural, social, legal, and political environments. The authors of this unusually cohesive and well-written collection vary in how they balance abstractions with specifics, but all offer rich insights and abundant citations that can guide readers toward both theory and evidence. In looking beyond standard notions to explore corporate history and functions, Constructing Corporate America reflects and advances the state of the art in business history. This superb volume has demolished what was left of the artifical and unfortunate walls formerly separating "business history" from what everyone interested in American history should be reading." —Enterprise and Society"


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199251902
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/29/2004
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Florida International University

University of Maryland

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Table of Contents

Introduction : crossing corporate boundaries 1
Pt. I The corporate project
1 Partnerships, corporations, and the limits on contractual freedom in U.S. history : an essay in economics, law, and culture 29
2 From citizens to plutocrats : nineteenth-century shareholder voting rights and theories of the corporation 66
3 The utopian corporation 94
4 Whose hubris : Brandeis, scientific management, and railroads 120
Pt. II Corporate-state interdependencies
5 The monopoly enigma, the Reagan administration's antitrust experiment, and the global economy 149
6 Corporate technological capabilities and the State : a dynamic historical interaction 168
7 The corporation under siege : social movements, regulation, public relations, and tort law since the Second World War 188
Pt. III The Business of identity
8 The business of Jews 223
9 White corporate America : the new arbiter of race? 246
10 Wall Street women's herstories 294
11 New economy romanticism, narratives of corporate personhood, and the antimanagerial impulse 321
Afterword : toward new renderings 343
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