Corporate Personhood (Part 1)
By S. Megan Heller, PhD candidate, Anthropology, UCLA
“I will believe that a corporation is a person, when Texas executes one!”—sign at Occupy LA
There have been many important consequences of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which have begun to revitalize democratic participation in the United States. Communication practices, such as those discussed by R. Lila Steinberg in the previous blog, are among the most promising cultural developments that emerged within the Occupy encampments. I myself participated in discussions and teach-ins at Occupy LA around the issue of corporate personhood, which is the legal practice of bestowing corporations with the same rights as individuals and protecting those rights under the US Constitution. This was a topic that I first encountered in an undergraduate class on the Anthropology of the United States, taught by a legal anthropologist at Cornell University, Vilma Santiago-Irizarry. I was very impressed to see this complex legal issue being discussed by ordinary citizens at Occupy LA.