Democratizing the Corporation: How the Neoliberal Conception of the Corporation Encloses the Political Realm and How It Can Be Challenged

Frederik Kirst Müntzberg

Student thesis: Master thesis


Recently, the ownership and governance of the British corporations have attracted contestation and critique from civil society and political parties, and they argue that there is a need to transform the current shareholder-centric corporate ownership and governance regime in the UK. This thesis seeks to examine why the corporation is so heavily criticized and how it can be transformed to accommodate the critique of it. The corporation has a history that is full of conflict and tension as it has been mirrored indifferent imaginaries of alternating hegemonic ideological projects. In the thesis it’s being argued that a particular economic imaginary of the corporation, which originated during liberal capitalism, has enabled a specific understanding of how the corporation should be owned and governed and whose interests it should serve. This imaginary contends that the corporation should be owned, governed and managed according to the interests of its shareholders and during the neoliberal and financialized capitalist era, this economic imaginary has been particularly invoked. Using critical theory to grasp the normative consequences of the neoliberal conception of the corporation, the thesis examines the conflict between the economy and the polity, which this economic imaginary intensifies. To stabilize this conflict, the thesis further investigates how the corporation can be democratized and how a democratization of the corporation can serve as a more viable and emancipatory social alternative.

EducationsMsc in Business Administration and Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages70
SupervisorsMathias Hein Jessen