CORPORATE STRATEGIES IN THE GLOBAL ERA: THE CASE OF MEGA-HOG FARMS IN THE TEXAS PANHANDLE REGION
Constance, Douglas H.
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Employing the case of the expansion of mega-hog production facilities in the Texas Panhandle region, this paper contributes to the globalization of agriculture and food literature by illustrating the strategies employed by transnational corporations (TNCs) to advance their economic and social interests and respond to emerging resistance. We argue that – rather than substantively addressing property, quality of life and environmental concerns raised by rural activists and residents – TNCs complement their hyper-mobility with corporate actions at the legitimative, political and economic levels which support their plans. At the legitimative level, hog-producing TNCs reacted to the challenges of local residents by presenting a “green” image which indicates conformity to good practices of environmental stewardship, narrows the definition of sound environmental actions and devalues opposition’s claims. Politically, TNCs modified existing environmental legislation to fit their agenda. By exercising direct control over the polity, TNCs were able to eliminate citizen participation from decision making processes concerning environmental issues. Additionally, they were able to further depoliticize environmental and property issues by shifting them from the political realm to the diministrative sphere. Economically, TNCs stressed the benefits that communities received from the relocation of mega-hog operations in their areas in a context characterized by a high demand for corporate investments from other regions. Additionally, TNCs employed their economic clout to exploit communities’ needs in order to gain acceptance of corporate positions.