Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): An Ambiguous Discourse

By Yvon Pesqueux

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be considered a real discourse that creates elements of reality that reinforce its content, but also as a major constraint for large companies’ managers, who become prisoners of this discourse in a circularity in which the reality component of the discourse is produced by the discourse. Yet a significant professional and academic literature on CSR has emerge, itself zealously praising its normative content because of the elements of reality quoted in it. The paper is built on the following argumentation. After outlining the ethical evidence of the end of the 20th century, which constitutes the foundation for the discourse of CSR, the paper presents the main elements of the ideology of the current liberal era. This is followed by the main features of CSR. Finally, the paper suggests that CSR is an ambiguous discourse. JEL Codes: M1, M38, M59


  • social responsibility (CSR)
  • discourse
  • ethics
  • liberalism
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