The moral corporation: On personal conviction and professional care of Turkish CEOs

Deniz Seebacher // Anthropology // Wednesday 8th February 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


CEOs are often the charismatic faces of the corporations and represent the corporate personality. While corporate practices are associated with exploitation and greedy profit maximization, their CEOs often highlight the philanthropic and giving role of their organizations for society. In this lecture, I will go beyond corporate practices labeled as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and look at the historical development and contemporary roles of corporations and their leaders in Turkey.

Using the case of two big Turkish corporations with publicly vocal CEOs, their histories within the Turkish nation state as well as their involvement in the Gezi park protests (2013), I will elaborate on CEOs as family patriarchs, business leaders and their roles within today’s society and the political landscape in Turkey. From a care perspective, it becomes especially interesting to see what they care about and whom they care for, in their quest to create coherent images of personal integrity, professionalism, and business trajectories. The notion of care is a powerful way to create relationships and dependencies, and frame political ideas of what doing good for society means.


Deniz Seebacher is currently completing her doctoral thesis at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna, after having conducted ethnographic fieldwork with the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Department of a corporate holding in Turkey between 2012 and 2016. She focuses on every day CR&S practices and ideas of morality within the corporate form.

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