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What do codes of conduct do? Hybrid constitutionalization and militarization in military markets

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2012

Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Porcelænshaven 18A, DK-2000 Frederiksberg


This article contributes to the debate over the whether or not the mainstreaming of Corporate Social Responsibility/Codes of Conduct should be welcomed. It suggests that to grapple with this question requires an engagement with the multiple and necessarily situated performativities (or jursigenerativities) of these codes. The article illustrates the argument through an analysis of two jurisgenerative processes (linked to regulation and to politics) triggered by Codes of Conduct in commercial military markets. It shows that the codes are creating both a hybrid regulatory (or constitutional) network that makes it possible to hold firms accountable and a militarization of politics. It does so by showing that the codes create first-, second- and third-order rules but also processes of misrecognition through distraction, distinction and diffusion that empower military professionals. It draws on a study of three cases involving ArmorGroup, a forerunner and advocate of regulation in military markets. This argument makes sense of the disagreements surrounding the virtues of global constitutionalism by highlighting the tensions that become apparent once it is acknowledged that Codes of Conduct are not only performative but are so in multiple ways. It can provide no easy way to dissolve the specific dilemma this multiple jurisgenerativity poses in the context of military markets specifically. But logically flowing from the argument is a suggestion that encouraging and empowering a broader, non-military/security professional involvement in the debate over the regulation of commercial military markets would be the appropriate way of handling it.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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