Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Tony Porter




Multinational corporations have been the source of contention and debate for several decades, among academics and politicians alike. Much of the discourse over multinationals has focussed on their perceived impacts on state sovereignty or deciphering whether they are harmful or beneficial to states. However, contending approaches provide us with little understanding of the sources of their power. This thesis approaches conflicts between multinational corporations and states with this as its central query. The three cases - Union Carbide in Bhopal, India; Toshiba Corporation and the United States; and pharmaceutical multinationals in Canada - are examined, collectively and individually, so as to evaluate the various prevailing approaches and assumptions regarding the power of multinational corporations. Although it is recognized that these approaches have their merits, the case studies strongly affirm the value and necessity of incorporating other factors into an analysis of the power of a multinational corporation during a conflict with a state. As such, the case studies establish that, in instances of contention with a state, structural power and domestic structures are more cogent determinants of outcomes, or power, of a multinational corporation than are traditional methods of evaluating power.

McMaster University Library

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."