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Against the background of attempts to explain the poor Corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of transnational oil corporations in the Niger Delta in the context of flawed approaches, processes and inadequate CSR packages, this paper contests not only the explanations for the failure of CSR, but the core idea that CSR is capable of engendering sustainable community development at all. Given the enormity of the development challenge in the region, corporations cannot, even with the best of intentions, make meaningful impact on host communities, mainly because of the structural constraints arising from the profit-seeking ethos which drives corporate behaviour.

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