Postcoloniality in corporate social and environmental accountability

Chandana Gnanapriya Alawattage, Susith Fernando

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review


Drawing on a set of interviews with corporate managers and a textual analysis of their publications, this paper argues that corporate social and environmental accountability (CSEA) in less developed countries (LDCs) is a postcolonial cultural space in which the locals, with certain postcolonial mentalities, and through cultural dynamics of hybridity, mimicry and ambivalence, exercise a cultural agency in accommodating and resisting the global discourses of sustainability to create a differential cultural identity for their organisations. In doing so they deploy a particular set of textual strategies – imitation, redefinition, innovation and codification – through which they translate CSEA into a postcolonial textuality: a hybrid textuality in which the global context is rewritten as local and local is (con)textualised as global creating a third space, a liminal space, of cultural reproduction. Cultural political identities of nationalism, religion and poverty enter this textuality as defining themes. A particular Buddhist notion of philanthropic giving, dana, brings a local cultural authenticity in defining this textuality while national political economic identity of poverty textualises CSEA as a particular set of development discourses and strategies that the private capital hold responsibilities for.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • postcolonialism
  • social and environmental accountability
  • Sri Lanka
  • Homi Bhabha


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