Corporate memory: historical revisionism, legitimation and the invention of tradition in a multinational mining company

Rajak, Dinah (2014) Corporate memory: historical revisionism, legitimation and the invention of tradition in a multinational mining company. PoLAR, 37 (2). pp. 259-280. ISSN 1081-6976

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Abstract

In the world of neoliberal corporate capitalism the corporation is commonly represented as both asocial and ahistorical, as little more than the sum of its shareholders. But even within volatile capital markets, the need to project a corporate image of stability and confidence makes the narrative and performative aspects of corporate practice increasingly important. In Anglo American, one of the world's largest mining companies, that story has been told as much through the reinvention of a South African past as through the vision of a ‘global future’ making foundational myths, tradition and, not least, nostalgia vital corporate assets. Such corporate mythologizing—and the invention of corporate tradition—equips the ‘corporate citizen’ with both memory and moral self. This article argues that narratives of corporate virtue play a key role, not as the antithesis to the logic of capitalism nor as a company's conscience, but as the warm-blooded twin to the business of mineral extraction and the mechanism through which Anglo American's economic and political hegemony in South Africa is legitimated.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Article first published online: 23 OCT 2014
Keywords: corporate capitalism; mining; South Africa; history; memory; tradition
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Jayne Paulin
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2015 11:22
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2015 11:22
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/52171
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