When I arrived in New Abirem, Ghana in August 2009, the multinational mining company Newmont had not yet started its operations. It was establishing alternative livelihood programmes, community administered development funds, and trainings for affected communities. Newmont was, it seemed, welcomed by the community, considered more responsible than other mining companies operating in Ghana. Newmont’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes, administered through a newly established NGO, were praised by different local institutions as being unique and extensive. Meanwhile, at the global level, the US-based mining company, one of the world’s leading gold producers, is part of the UN Global Compact and the Voluntary Principles of Human Rights and Security, which set certain standards that engaged corporations have to meet. In 2010 in Peru, where Newmont has been extracting gold since 1993, I encountered a very different picture of corporate-community dynamics. Community relations with Newmont were marked by deep mistrust and open contestation. Like in Ghana, Newmont had established an NGO, when it began operations in the early 1990s, to manage its CSR issues and community relations. Yet, as we will see, the NGO in Peru was seen in a rather different light – more as an instrument of corporate interests than a vehicle of community upliftment – to the one newly set up in Ghana. CSR, which this chapter examines more closely in the context of Newmont’s operations in Ghana and Peru, has become common practice within the extractive sector over the past two decades and is the focus of an increasing body of academic literature. Scholarly perspectives concerning its impacts are often diametrically opposed. While some see CSR optimistically as a way of humanizing business (Matten and Crane, 2003), many doubt that CSR prevents the negative social and environmental impact of multinational enterprise (Gilberthorpe and Banks, 2012). Going a step further, some argue that CSR grants the company more control and power over the government and local community (Rajak, 2011). This chapter will further investigate this argument, elaborating on the capacity of CSR as a

standardized strategy and set of corresponding technologies to exercise corporate power and discipline in very different local contexts. According to Ferguson (1994), the application of a standardized programme is possible if the problem addressed is de-contextualized and discursively transformed into a technical problem. Through this decontextualization, power structures are made invisible, and poverty causes and ‘development measures’ are de-politicized. Consequently, Ferguson argues, in the context of development operations, which he describes as “anti-politics” machines, highly political agendas can be implemented without seeming to be political. CSR in the extractive sector is promoted as this kind of standardized solution (Rajak, 2011: 18). In this sense, CSR can provide mining companies with a depoliticizing mechanism such as this, to veil or contain the underlying and emerging issues of inequality and marginalization – for example, in the case of displacement and resettlement of local populations. Questions of fairness of the implemented measures fade into the background and are quietened by the argument of development. Such questions could refer to the process of implementation and outcome. Fairness in regard to process can mean that possible consequences of operations are outlined, all relevant stakeholders are included in decision-making processes, weak stakeholders receive special support, and possible results of participatory processes are accepted. Only if a process is perceived as being fair, there can be a ‘fair’ and acceptable outcome. In any case, the perception of resource fairness varies from social positions and different local contexts. My analysis shows how Newmont approaches local communities on different continents in a standardized way. Following its one global model developed in abstraction from the particular contexts of operations, it aims for standardized, manageable outcomes. Scott (1998) argues that a state, to a large extent, gains power over its citizens – as corporations do over surrounding populations (Ferguson, 2005) – by making society administrable through the simplification of qualitative matters into measurable units. From this perspective, people are uniform, measurable units without any specific skills or experience (Scott, 1998: 346). Thus, a standardizing view on communities would provide the company with more control. Ferguson (1994) also argues that these standardized solutions often fail to achieve the targeted development result, but still have an (unintended) side effect. It is an influential “instrumental effect” (Ferguson, 1994: 256), which enables the exercise of power over the target population. This power is a “bureaucratic power” (Ferguson, 1994: 274) exercised through the administration of development projects over the surrounding population. Instead of working with the state, CSR works in the “spaces where the state fails to deliver” which “creates opportunities for new unintended consequences to flow from CSR interventions” (Sharp, 2006: 220). Yet, the ethnographic evidence presented here from Newmont’s operations in Ghana and Peru show that standardized methods do not necessarily produce standardized effects of control. Newmont had been present

in Peru for much longer than in Ghana, but was not able to adjust its standardized concepts to the local context and to make use of instrumental effects. Its grand CSR concept could not prevent huge protests against its new mining project ‘Conga’. Indeed, violent clashes with the police led to a temporary suspension of the venture (Osterman and Wilson, 2012). While Scott (1998) and Ferguson (1994; 2005) give great insight into the workings of power, which will be particularly useful in the discussion of Newmont’s techniques, they neglect the relevance of counter-conduct. As I will show, they fundamentally underestimate the agency of local actors. Based on my ethnographic fieldwork at Newmont’s site of operations in Ghana (July-October 2009) and Peru (November 2010), I set out to examine the power and limitations of corporate techniques alongside the perspectives and agency of local actors, through a comparison of local responses to standardized corporate techniques. In Ghana, my core data include extensive field notes from participatory observation and 14 semistructured interviews with different employees of the mining company, affected and non-affected local inhabitants, members of the district assembly and other local institutions in the context of Newmont’s preparation for a new mining operation in New Abirem, as well as with activists, NGOs, and government bodies outside of the place of operation. Moreover, participatory observation from the three months of research, official documents, newspaper articles, and 40 additional interviews at four different mining sites broadened my understanding of the mining sector in Ghana. In Peru, I analysed the company-community relations on the basis of participatory observation, ten semi-structured interviews with local and international NGOs, the NGO responsible for Newmont’s CSR programme, community leaders, and other community members affected by planned mining operations in Cajamarca and surroundings as well as international news, blogs of activists, and social media sites. The comparative angle of one company operating at two different places across two continents serves as a unique basis to better comprehend the dynamics of standardized tools in different contexts. Moreover, the different stages of the two operations – one being an expansion of a longstanding project, the other being a prospective operation far away from other operations of the same company – reveals how a temporal dimension, the stage of operation, influences corporate strategies as well as local response. The comparison between two different continents with supposedly differing discourses on the benefits and risks of mining, a difference in experience with mining, differing legal frameworks, and different networks available will show that standardized techniques cannot always adequately deal with complexities at the local level nor fully absorb counter-conduct and the agency of local actors. Ultimately, I challenge the conception that standardized techniques of governance yield a standardized effect of domination and argue instead that local specificities, agency, and counterconduct shape the effects of corporate techniques.