How to Study Public Negotiation of Responsibilities: A Communicative Approach to Business and Human Rights Research

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This article proposes a communicative approach to business and human rights research, the key objective of which is to understand business responsibility for human rights as discursively constituted. We show that a communicative approach makes it possible to examine how the nature and bounds of business responsibility come about as a negotiation between a range of societal actors that contribute to public discourse on human rights. Given that such an approach is novel in the context of human rights research, the article provides an introduction to the methodological foundations of a communicative framework, maps out the range of applicable methods within the framework, and reviews existing studies. To illustrate, the article presents a study which exemplifies a communicative approach to business and human rights. This study investigates the development over the past 20 years of public discourse on business responsibility for human rights. The article concludes by pointing to gaps in knowledge and potential issues for further research drawing on a communicative approach to business and human rights.
TidsskriftNordic Journal of Human Rights
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)18-41
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - 2019


  • Business
  • CSR
  • Communication
  • Media
  • Text analysis
  • Discourse
  • UN Global Compact