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 an ethnographic and historical research project on 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 tobacco farmers, Javanese factory workers, urban and rural vendors, consumers, corporate managers, and anti-tobacco activists.
Anthropology of Development
Anthropology of Corporations
Power, Culture, and Society in Southeast Asia
Indonesia in Cultural and Historical Perspective
2014 Enacting the Corporation: An American Mining Firm in Post-authoritarian Indonesia. Berkeley: University of California Press. http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520282315
2014 Anthropology After the New Order. In Producing Indonesia: The State of Indonesian Studies, pp. 19-23. Eric Tagliacozzo, ed. Ithaca: Southeast Asia Publications, Cornell University.
2012 The Green Revolution’s Ghost: Unruly Subjects of Participatory Development in Rural Indonesia. American Ethnologist 39(2): 389-406.http://anthropology.cornell.edu/faculty/upload/Welker-2012-Green-Revolutions-Ghost.pdf
2011 Corporate Lives: New Perspectives on the Social Life of the Corporate Form. Introduction to Special Issue in Current Anthropology. Marina Welker, Damani Partridge, Rebecca Hardin, eds. 52(S3): S3-S16. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/657907
2011 Shareholder Activism and Alienation. Current Anthropology. Marina Welker and David Wood. 52(S3): S57-S69. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/656796
2009 “Corporate Security Begins in the Community:” Mining, the Corporate Social Responsibility Industry, and Environmental Advocacy in Indonesia. Cultural Anthropology 24(1):142-179. http://anthropology.cornell.edu/faculty/upload/welker-CA-2009-1.pdf