Den samfundsopdragende virksomhed: Fra CSR til klimauddannelse: Erhvervslivets ledelse af bæredygtige borgere

Jakob Højbjerg Andersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This dissertation explores a new form of CSR-related phenomenon: Companies that educate society about ecological sustainability and responsibility. In order to study this phenomenon, a new analytical framework is developed, as most existing studies of CSR are deemed ineffectual for the examination of educating companies. The proposed framework consists of two analyses: A diachronic analysis examining the emergence of the educating company and a synchronic analysis that identifies and studies the actual corporate government of citizens. In the first discursive analysis, it is shown how a political ideal rooted in ecological sustainability combined with a new concept of ‘green economic growth’ has made the Danish state include the business community in the education and government of ecologically responsible citizens. In continuation hereof, it is argued that companies have become politically sanctioned ‘vessels of societal change’ and that they are therefore enabled to act accordingly. The term ‘climate education’ is coined in order to conceptualise the phenomenon of this act of corporate education and through Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality and the analytics of Mitchell Dean the second synchronic analysis examines how this climate education creates governable individuals. Using Dean’s concept of ‘regimes of government’, we look into the empirical domain of climate education through four dimensions: Visibility, technologies, specific forms of expert knowledge and the forming of subjects or selves. By means of three case examples, the second analysis studies the practice of climate education in the very instances they occur. Thus witness how a new form of ‘privatised ethical government’ seeks to foster engaged, rational and sustainable individuals using sophisticated governmental techniques of steering. However, this privatised climate education is not seen exclusively seen as voluntary and altruistic. Instead there is a double benefit from a corporate perspective: Firstly, the education seems to legitimise and immunise companies from accusations of greenwashing. Secondly, the companies reap profits from selling sustainable products to consumers who wish to achieve a ‘green lifestyle’. Thereby, the companies prime or groom their own market by giving citizens a way to become sustainable through consumption. Finally, the dissertation addresses the possible implications of this development from a corporate and democratic perspective

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages93