Universität Bonn

Forum Internationale Wissenschaft

Dr. Damien Krichewsky

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Dr. Damien Krichewsky

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Abteilung für Demokratieforschung


Heussallee 18-24

53113 Bonn

+49 228 7362 980

Research project:

Damien Krichewsky combines political sociology, economic sociology and sociology of organizations to study transformations of state-business relations in contemporary India. His research focuses in particular on how interplays between profit-driven economic activities and competing collective values and interests are observed and processed in India's democracy.

Damien Krichewsky's doctoral dissertation sheds light on the rapid institutionalization of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in contemporary India. Using both macroscopic observations and in-depth empirical studies in the cement industry, the dissertation investigates how CSR-related discourses, organizational structures and practices impact the processing of tensions between "business" and "development" in this particular context. It shows that India’s policies since the early 1980s have increasingly put private companies forward as the country's new engines of development.  This "pro-business" turn has provided companies with useful political support and enhanced their operational autonomy vis-a-vis regulatory constraints. However, claims of synergies between business expansion and other "development" goals have been increasingly contested. Rising protest movements against, inter alia, the casualization of labor, industry-related expropriation of land, disruptions in the life of indigenous communities, corruption and forms of crony capitalism, growing pollution and the depletion of natural resources, have confronted business and political actors with new uncertainties. This context has favored a transition from pre-existing practices of business philanthropy to CSR. Thanks to dedicated organizational structures and practices, CSR enhances the ability of companies to translate these "threatening" socio-political uncertainties into parameters of economic risks, and to address these risks strategically so as to minimize external interferences in their profit-driven business conduct. The dissertation was graded with "summa cum laude" in September 2012 at Sciences Po's Doctoral School in Paris, and was distinguished by the 2013 PhD-Thesis Price of the Réseau international de recherche sur les organisations et le développement durable (RIODD).

Following a research project on the use of green finance mechanisms by the World Bank and bilateral donors to promote pollution abatement in Egypt, which was funded by the French Agence Francaise de Développement (AFD), Damien Krichewsky spent a year as Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne.

In January 2014, Damien Krichewsky joined the FIW, where he has been pursuing new theory-driven empirical research on state-business relations in India's democracy. A first project, which is now completed, has investigated how the semantics of CSR have penetrated India's political system in the mid-2000s, and provided state authorities with new policy options to intervene on "business-development" interplays. A detailed comparative study of two resulting CSR public policies, the National Voluntary Guidelines of 2011 and the section 135 of the new Companies Act 2013, shows how the semantic properties of the CSR concept support regulatory institutions that transfer key political functions to companies, without imposing much constraints on how companies are to perform these functions. The formal aim of these CSR public policies is to enhance companies' contributions to socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable "development". But they end up institutionalizing self-regulation and profit-driven redistribution of resources as alternatives to legally-binding regulation and solidarity mechanisms based on taxation and the welfare state.

As part of his new research agenda, Damien Krichewsky has started working on environmental politics in India's democracy. A research project on this topic is currently under review for funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Based on a macro-sociological study and in-depth field research, this project will investigate how structural features of India’s democracy, such as the political role of caste identities and Hindu nationalism, condition the selective ‘responsiveness’ of Indian politics to ecological problems. The empirical focus of this study is the environmental governance of the river Ganges, which is both a ‘lifeline’ for more than 40% of India’s population and one of the world’s most deteriorated rivers.

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