Globalization and Discontent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The concept of social license to operate was forged in the crucible between globalization-which has radically decentralized the ability of organizations to operate wherever they choose-and the rise of oppositional social movements, newly empowered to confront global actors infringing on their communities. This article reviews the central dilemma posed by social license to operate: whether it is business practice, sociological reality, or emerging form of governance, drawing on the insights and findings of the articles in this special issue. It then suggests three lines of future research for the critical social sciences. The article concludes that the principle shortcomings of the concept of social license to operate is the inevitability of the boundaries it draws between organizations and the communities they inhabit and the failure of the concept to acknowledge that transformation, not just operation, is almost always at stake in these encounters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-392
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Epistemology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Democracy
  • Globalization
  • Governance
  • Social License to Operate
  • Social Movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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