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KEMI 2045A - Multinationals Corporations, International Law and Global Governance

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 12

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Pursuing the ideal of a State capable of defining the rules and regulations around which the economic activity takes place, neoclassical economists promote a minimalist perspective on corporate responsibility that amounts to philanthropy. However, the incompleteness of law and the inability of States to agree on a common minimal base in the economic, social and environmental realms have progressively eroded this vision. This course pursues a double agenda: firstly, to reveal the promises, but also the limits and controversies that international law holds on matters of corporate responsibility. Then, to shed light on the hybrid governance mechanisms that currently emerge to fill the voids of international law.


BOMMIER, Swann (PhD, Researcher)

Pedagogical format

Every class will start with a short presentation (by a group of students) and a class discussion about a set of academic and media articles provided to you beforehand (ethnographic research presented in academic journals, newspaper cuttings, reports by international organizations). I will then provide some additional theoretical elements in the form of a short lecture and provide an additional bibliography for those seeking additional information on that topic. Throughout the lecture and workshop, open discussion and participation will be vividly encouraged.

Course validation

Participation during the class and at the business case (held during session 6): 20 per cent of the final mark. Group presentation: 40 per cent. Individual essay: 40 per cent.


Readings prior to each class. One group presentation of 10-15 minutes during the class to introduce the topic and the debate it raises. A short essay on a case study relating to business-society issues (1,500 words maximum).

Required reading

  • Palan, Ronan. “Tax Havens and the Commercialization of State Sovereignty.” International Organization 56, no. 1 (2002): 151–76.
  • Ruggie, John. “Protect, Respect and Remedy”: a Framework for Business and Human Rights, Pub. L. No. A/HRC/8/5, § Human rights Council (2008).
  • Soule, Sarah. Contention and Corporate Social Responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Young, Iris Marion. “Responsibility and Global Justice: A Social Connection Model.” Social Philosophy and Policy 23, no. 1 (2006): 102–30.
  • Renouard, Cécile. “The Private Sector and the Fight against Poverty.” Field Actions Science Reports (FACTS) Special issue 4 (2012). http://

Additional required reading

  • Barkan, Joshua. Corporate Sovereignty. Law and Government under Capitalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.
  • Bilchitz, David. “The Necessity for a Business and Human Rights Treaty.” Johannesburg: University of Johannesburg, November 30, 2014.
  • Dietsch, Peter. “Asking the Fox to Guard the Henhouse: The Tax Planning Industry and Corporate Social Responsibility.” Ethical Perspectives 18, no. 3 (2011): 341–54.
  • Ferreras, Isabelle. Gouverner Le Capitalisme? Pour Le Bicamérisme Économique. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2012.
  • Fraser, Nancy. “Reframing Justice in a Globalizing World.” New Left Review 36 (2005): 1–19.
  • Friedman, Milton. “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.” New York Times Magazine. September 13, 1970.
  • Harrington, Brooke. Capital without Borders. Wealth Managers and the One Percent. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016.
  • McKibben, Bill. “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math.” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012.
  • Pettit, Philip. “Deux Sophismes À Propos Des Personnes Morales.” Raisons Politiques 56, no. 4 (2014): 5–23.
  • Phillips, Robert, and Craig Caldwell. “Value Chain Responsibility: A Farewell to Arm's Length.” Business and Society Review 110, no. 4 (2005): 345–70.
  • Reichberg, Gregory, and Henrik Syse. “The Idea of Double Effect - in War and Business.” In Responsibility in World Business: Managing Harmful Side-Effects of Corporate Activity, edited by Lene Bomann-Larsen and Oddny Wiggen, United Nations University. Tokyo, New York, Paris: United Nations University Press, 2004.
  • Ruggie, John. “Territoriality and Beyond: Problematizing Modernity in International Relations.” International Organization 47, no. 1 (1993): 139–74
  • Supiot, Alain. L'esprit de Philadelphie. La Justice Sociale Face Au Marché Total. Paris: Seuil, 2010.
  • Utting, Peter. “The Struggle for Corporate Accountability.” Development and Change 39, no. 6 (2008): 959–75
  • Vogel, David. The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility. Brookings Institution Press, 2006.
  • Weil, David, and Carlos Mallo. “Regulating Labour Standards via Supply Chains: Combining Public/private Interventions to Improve Workplace Compliance.” British Journal of Industrial Relations 45, no. 4 (2007): 791–814.