One of the advantages of most of my books still being in boxes is that I’m reading a lot of books as I get them, instead of putting them on the ‘to read’ shelf and turning to something more immediately pressing. One book I’ve recently received and then read very soon is Joshua Barkan’s Corporate Sovereignty: Law and Government under Capitalism.
The book looks at the power of corporations, and links this to the role of law and sovereignty. There is a lot of detailed reading of legal cases and the work counts as an important text in legal geography. But the link between sovereignty and the corporation means its a contribution to political theory and geography too. He suggests that “corporate power and political sovereignty are genealogically linked and therefore unintelligible without one another” (p. 139). There are plenty of historical sources drawn on for his analysis – Ernst Kantorowicz is put to good use, for instance – and contemporary resonances with the work of people like Engin Isin and Mark Neocleous. There are chapters on “The Sovereign Gift”, “Property”, “Personhood”, “Territory” and “Responsibility”, which gives some idea of the scope, if not the depth, of the reading and references. The final chapter on ‘The Corporate University’ is especially good.