Reframing Corporate Subjectivity: Systemic Inequality and the Company at the Intersection of Race, Gender and Poverty
Author / Creator
Business and Human Rights Journal, 2022, Vol.7 (1), p.100-116
In this paper I use South Africa as a reference point to discuss the company as a juristic person and its relationship to natural persons through the concepts of subjectivity and personhood. I do this in an attempt to reveal that granting of juristic personality as ‘the company’ is not a neutral, organic or inevitable product of the law and economy but a construct symbiotically bound to the colonial state. Underlying this juristic personhood is colonial ideology which perpetuates racialized and gendered poverty and inequality as systemic oppression, in order to deliberately facilitate and maintain conditions of domination and exploitation. Rather than taking the conventional business and human rights starting point that accepts the corporate structure without critique, it is argued that by reorienting away from juristic personality as purportedly ‘neutral’ and reframing the construct, the powers of the company might be curtailed, thereby interrupting these continuing colonial logics.