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Framing the Corporation: Royal Dutch/Shell and Human Rights Woes in Nigeria


  • Boris Holzer



Transnational corporations are often implicated in conflicts over environmental problems and human rights in developing countries. As a result they become targets of both local and transnational campaigns. Given the lack of resources and influence of local activists, campaigning groups often turn to consumer audiences abroad to pressurize a certain company or brand. That requires agenda-setting and “framing” of the issues concerned in order to gain consumers’ attention. Local activists and campaigning groups use the public sphere to call attention to allegedly dubious corporate policies and practices that lie behind the consumer goods offered for sale in the Western world. Based on an analysis of the public discourse about the operations of the oil multinational Royal Dutch/Shell in Nigeria in the year 1995, this paper suggests that once the corporation is framed as a moral actor, it gets difficult for the corporation to deny its responsibility for human rights—even though the actual influence of the corporation may be limited. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Boris Holzer, 2007. "Framing the Corporation: Royal Dutch/Shell and Human Rights Woes in Nigeria," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 281-301, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:30:y:2007:i:3:p:281-301
    DOI: 10.1007/s10603-007-9035-4

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    Cited by:

    1. Petya Puncheva-Michelotti & Marco Michelotti & Peter Gahan, 2010. "The Relationship Between Individuals’ Recognition of Human Rights and Responses to Socially Responsible Companies: Evidence from Russia and Bulgaria," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 93(4), pages 583-605, June.


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