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Chevron’s gift of CSR: moral economies of connection and disconnection in a transnational Bangladeshi village

Gardner, Katy (2016) Chevron’s gift of CSR: moral economies of connection and disconnection in a transnational Bangladeshi village. Economy and Society, 44 (4). pp. 495-518. ISSN 0308-5147

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Identification Number: 10.1080/03085147.2015.1087750


Based on ethnographic material gathered from villages surrounding the Bibiyana gas field operated by Chevron in NE Bangladesh, this paper explores the apparent paradox between the corporation’s programmes of development and the response of residents who insist that the company ‘should do more. ’ The paper draws upon theories of the development gift which focus upon the ethics and moralities of corporate giving and the ways in which development gifts extend capitalist power, re-embed morality in the market and bind recipients into hierarchical positions of unequal exchange. In contrast, we know significantly less about the moralities and motivations of the populations to whom the gifts are offered. Aiming to fill the lacunae, the paper shows how at Bibiyana the ‘Community Engagement’ programmes take place in a specific moral terrain which predates the arrival of Chevron and has profoundly affected how their development goods are perceived, utilised and contested. Whilst Chevron’s ‘Community Engagement’ programme is underlain by ethics of detachment (Cross, 2011) and aims to create disconnection via discourses of empowerment and sustainability, this is at odds with the local moral economy of connection, which is underlain by the ethics of Islamic charity and patronage, in which hierarchical differences are explicit.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: ©2015 The Author.
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2015 10:02
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 00:30

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