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Top-down and out?

Reassessing the labelling approach in the light of corporate deviance

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2019
Trefwoorden labelling, corporate crime, moral entrepreneurs, peer group, late modernity
Auteurs Anna Merz M.A.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Multi-national corporations are increasingly facing attention and disapproval by different actors, including authorities, public and (non-) commercial organizations. Digital globalization and especially social media as a low-cost, highly interactive and multidirectional platform shape a unique context for this rising attention. In the literature, much attention has been devoted to top-down approaches and strategies that corporations use to avoid stigmatization and sanctioning of their behaviour. Reactions to corporate harm are, however, seldom researched from a labelling perspective. As a result, corporations are not considered as objects towards whom labelling is targeted but rather as actors who hamper such processes and who, as moral entrepreneurs, influence which behaviour is labelled deviant. Based on theoretical analysis of literature and case studies, this article will discuss how the process of labelling has changed in light of the digitalized, late-modern society and consequently, how the process should be revisited to be applicable for corporate deviance. Given a diversification of moral entrepreneurs and increasingly dependency of labelling and meaning-making on the online sphere, two new forms of labelling are introduced that specifically target institutions; that is bottom-up and horizontal labelling.


Anna Merz M.A.
Anna Merz is promovendus aan de Sectie Criminologie van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
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