Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2006
Office: McGraw 200
Research Interests: Corporations and capitalism, international development, extractive industry, tobacco industry, business education, Indonesia, USA
My research centers on the ethical relationship between business and society. My first project was an ethnographic study of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) industry that is creating and installing voluntary social and environmental codes of conduct and practices among corporations. In adopting CSR, corporations internalize and set to new purposes ethical discourses derived from activists and the development industry (e.g. transparency, accountability, good governance, participation, empowerment, and environmentalism). Based on fieldwork in the U.S. headquarters of Newmont Mining Corporation and around the Batu Hijau copper and gold mine on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, the project examines the competing ways in which corporate managers, Sumbawan village residents, NGOs, and government officials construe and negotiate the social responsibilities of a mining corporation.
I am developing two new projects. One is an ethnographic and historical examination of Sampoerna, a clove cigarette firm in Indonesia that was founded by a Chinese immigrant and controlled by his descendants until 2005, when it was taken over by Philip Morris International. I will study corporate strategy at different junctures in the clove cigarette commodity network, focusing on contract tobacco farmers, Javanese factory workers, urban and rural vendors, consumers, corporate managers, and anti-tobacco activists. The second project I am preparing is an ethnographic study of U.S. business schools that will ask how MBA students learn to think about knowledge, ethics, and personhood over the course of their degree programs.
- Anthropology in the World
- Anthropology of Development
- Anthropology of Corporations
- Power, Culture, and Society in Southeast Asia
- Cigarette Cultures
- "The Green Revolution's Ghost: Unruly Subjects of Participatory Development in Rural Indonesia." American Ethnologist 39(2): 389-406.[link to article]
- "Shareholder Activism and Alienation." Welker, Marina, and David Wood. Current Anthropology 52 (S3):S57-S69 [Link to article]
- "Introduction to Corporate Lives: New Perspectives on the Social Life of the Corporate Form." Welker, Marina, Damani Partridge, and Rebecca Hardin. Current Anthropology 52 (S3): S3-S16. [Link to article]
- “Corporate Security Begins in the Community:” Mining, the Corporate Social Responsibility Industry, and Environmental Advocacy in Indonesia. Cultural Anthropology 24(1): 142-179. [PDF]