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Tony Lawson’s Theory of the Corporation: Towards a Social Ontology of Law

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  • Simon Deakin

Abstract

In his account of the corporation as a ‘community’, Tony Lawson advances a materialist theory of social reality to argue for the existence of emergent social structures based on collective practices and behaviours, distinguishing his position from John Searle’s theory of social reality as consisting of declarative speech acts. Lawson’s and Searle’s accounts are examined for what they imply about the relationship between social structures and legal concepts. It is argued that legal concepts are themselves a feature of social reality and that a consequence of the law’s recognition of the ‘reality’ of the corporation is to open up the activities of business firm to a distinct form of normative ordering.

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  • Simon Deakin, 2017. "Tony Lawson’s Theory of the Corporation: Towards a Social Ontology of Law," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 1505-1523.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:41:y:2017:i:5:p:1505-1523.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/bex044
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Phil Faulkner & Stephen Pratten & Jochen Runde, 2017. "Cambridge Social Ontology: Clarification, Development and Deployment," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 1265-1277.
    2. Blanche Segrestin & Armand Hatchuel & Kevin Levillain, 2021. "When the Law Distinguishes Between the Enterprise and the Corporation: The Case of the New French Law on Corporate Purpose," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 171(1), pages 1-13, June.
    3. Blanche Segrestin & Armand Hatchuel & Kevin Levillain, 2020. "When the law distinguishes between the enterprise and the corporation: the case of the new French law on corporate purpose," Post-Print hal-02441287, HAL.
    4. Blanche Segrestin & Armand Hatchuel & Kevin Levillain, 2020. "When the Law Distinguishes Between the Enterprise and the Corporation: The Case of the New French Law on Corporate Purpose," Post-Print hal-02465609, HAL.

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