Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies



Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 311 pages) : forms.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Fernando I Leiva

Committee Members

Susan Gauss, Jennifer Burrell


C.I. Uniban S.A., Colombian banana industry, corporate social responsibility, cultural political economy, inclusive business, peacebuilding, Banana trade, Social responsibility of business

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Latin American History | Latin American Studies


This dissertation concentrates on the banana sector in Urabá, Colombia from 1987 to 2017, paying particular attention to C.I. Uniban S.A., the largest and oldest banana marketing and export company in the country, its social foundation, Fundauniban, its marketing subsidiary Turbana Corporation, Agricola Sara Palma S.A. banana producers, and local communities in the region. Through an in-depth, qualitative case-study supported with insights from cultural political economy (CPE), it documents the local and global pressures that forced these actors to adopt and deploy corporate social responsibility (CSR) to upgrade to compete in the global banana market. It makes the case that their approach to CSR shifted from a short-term ‘crisis management’ strategy in response to the ‘race to the bottom’ to a long-term model centered on inclusive business, shared value and peacebuilding in the 21st century. By sketching out this transformation the study reveals the inroads, limits, and contradictions related to CSR and underscores how it became a ‘soft strategy’ for banana capitalists to produce new forms of subjectivities and modes of conduct and to manufacture consent around a ‘new spirit of banana capitalism’ in Urabá that fuses together economic and social concerns.