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Enacting the Corporation

An American Mining Firm in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia

Marina Welker


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (3/21/2014)


What are corporations, and to whom are they responsible? Anthropologist Marina Welker draws on two years of research at Newmont Mining Corporation’s Denver headquarters and its Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Sumbawa, Indonesia, to address these questions. Against the backdrop of an emerging Corporate Social Responsibility movement and changing state dynamics in Indonesia, she shows how people enact the mining corporation in multiple ways: as an ore producer, employer, patron, promoter of sustainable development, religious sponsor, auditable organization, foreign imperialist, and environmental threat. Rather than assuming that corporations are monolithic, profit-maximizing subjects, Welker turns to anthropological theories of personhood to develop an analytic model of the corporation as an unstable collective subject with multiple authors, boundaries, and interests. Enacting the Corporation demonstrates that corporations are constituted through continuous struggles over relations with—and responsibilities to—local communities, workers, activists, governments, contractors, and shareholders.

Praise For Enacting the Corporation: An American Mining Firm in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia

"Marina Welker provides an alternative mode of analysis that avoids the usual tropes without losing sight of the complexities and contradictions revealed through ethnographic fieldwork."

— American Anthropologist

University of California Press, 9780520282315, 312pp.

Publication Date: March 21, 2014

About the Author

Marina Welker is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University.