In an era of systemic crisis and of global critiques of the unsustainable perpetuation of capitalism, Pervasive Powers: The Politics of Corporate Authority critically questions the conditions for the maintenance and expansion of corporate power. The book explores empirical case studies in the realms of finance, urban policies, automobile safety, environmental risk, agriculture, and food in western democracies. It renews understanding of the power of big business, focusing on how the study of temporalities, of multi-sited influence and of sociotechnical tools is crucial to an analysis of the evolution of corporate authority.

Drawing on different literatures, ranging from research on business associations and global governance to that on the social production of ignorance or on corporate crime, this book aims at contributing to existing works on the capacity of corporations to rule the world. Unlike approaches focused on economic elites and on the political activities of firms, it goes beyond analysis of the power of corporations to influence policy-making to depict their unprecedented capacity to transform and shape the social world. Operating in numerous social spaces and mobilizing a wide range of strategies, corporate organizations have acquired the pervasive power to act far beyond mere spaces of regulation and government.

Based on contributions from historians, science and technology studies scholars, sociologists and political scientists, this book will be of great interest to researchers, academics and students who wish to understand how corporations exert a pervasive influence on public policies, and to NGOs and regulatory agencies.

chapter |8 pages


BySara Angeli Aguiton, Marc-Olivier Déplaude, Nathalie Jas, Emmanuel Henry, Valentin Thomas

chapter 1|24 pages

The Pervasiveness of Corporate Authority

Repertoire of Actions, Material Effects, and Democratic Challenges
BySara Angeli Aguiton, Marc-Olivier Déplaude, Nathalie Jas, Emmanuel Henry, Valentin Thomas

chapter 2|25 pages

The Making of the Spanish Pesticide Industry During the Early Francoist Dictatorship

Experts, Autarky, Agnotology, and Fascism
ByJosé Ramón Bertomeu-Sánchez

chapter 3|24 pages

Corporate Systemic Ascendency

Perspectives from the Pesticide Industry in Postwar France
ByNathalie Jas

chapter 4|24 pages

From Research Funding to Public Relations

The Making of a Food Industry Think Tank in 1970s France
ByThomas Depecker, Marc-Olivier Déplaude, Nicolas Larchet

chapter 5|22 pages

From Public Problem to Quiet Politics?

When US Insurers Mobilized for Automobile Safety Regulation(1959–1974)
ByStève Bernardin

chapter 6|21 pages

Coproducing the Rules of the Game

State, Insurance Companies, and Private Equity in 1990s France
ByMarlène Benquet, Paul Lagneau Ymonet, Fabien Foureault