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Interests of corporate actors in human rights politics

The research project addresses the question which interests corporate actors pursue in their engagement with regulation initiatives in specific policy areas. To this end, the project examines the role of corporations in the regulation of economic activities in relation to human rights. The project uses the distinction between harder and softer forms of regulation along the lines of obligation, precision, and delegation (Abbott et al. 2000), to differentiate corporate interests in the field. Based on the results it also considers how these interests might interact with the sources of different dimensions of business power (instrumental, structural, discursive) (Fuchs 2005). The project focuses on the national level in Germany, as well as the international level with the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group for a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights and the political processes in the respective developments.


  • Abbott, Kenneth W., Keohane, Robert O., Moravcsik, Andrew, Slaughter Anne-Marie and Snidal, Duncan (2010): The Concept of Legalization. In: International Organization, Vol. 54, No. 3, Legalization and World Politics (Summer,2000), pp. 401-419
  • Fuchs, Doris (2005): Commanding Heights? The Strength and Fragility of Business Power in Global Politics. In: Millennium – Journal of International Studies 2005, 33, pp. 771-802