Doing business for a “higher loyalty”? : How Swedish transnational corporations neutralise allegations of crime
Summary, in English
In recent years, two Swedish companies have been a focus of substantial media attention: TeliaSonera and Lundin Petroleum. The defensive strategies employed by these two businesses to deal with allegations of crime will be analysed on the basis of Stanley Cohen’s theoretical work on processes of denial and neutralisation techniques. This paper will focus on a particular form of denial, namely the appeal to higher loyalties, whereby the businesses try to explain why they have been doing business despite the risks that this has involved. The paper links together the companies’ communications with the contexts in which they occur and the structures that might be expected to influence how the companies choose to frame their communications. The presence of the corporations in areas where crimes have been committed is not denied, but implicatory denials are employed to justify the corporations’ operations by referring to the societal benefits of their business activities. When the corporations frame their businesses as contributing to development, democracy and peace in the countries in which they operate, the corporations use well-known discourses that underline Swedish or Nordic generosity, helpfulness and decency. Thus, the analysis also draws on post-colonial theory and the image of the Nordic countries as being particularly “good” in relation to the rest of the world.