Abstract

abstract :

This article examines English publications relating to the international trading corporations active during the seventeenth century. It includes those directly authored by the corporations, alongside those supporting or attacking them. It considers the way in which these corporations engaged in the public sphere: How did companies speak? Why did they speak? What personas did they establish? And how did companies, and their opponents, conceive of the public sphere in which they were engaged? Combining quantitative data analysis with qualitative reading of the 177 corporate pamphlets written during the seventeenth century affords insight into the benefits and disadvantages of corporate public speech, and deepens our understanding of the development of the public sphere. Corporate writing enabled companies to construct a separate public personality. Such a personality—coupled with the anonymity inherent in their legal form—allowed corporations and their supporters to utilize the mechanisms of public opinion for private pleading.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1553-3786
Print ISSN
1531-0485
Pages
pp. 98-142
Launched on MUSE
2020-07-14
Open Access
No
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