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Chris Nierstrasz

Chris Nierstrasz explores the global sociology of perhaps the most prolific corporations in the early modern world, those of the Dutch. His chapter argues that the study of Dutch companies more often than not have had a strong national bias that stands in the way of more abstract conceptualization of their essential form. National historians have a hard time jumping over their own shadow and acknowledging that companies are part of similar institutional developments elsewhere. Nierstrasz calls for a more general conception of Dutch corporations in order to understand that, for instance, the Dutch East India Company was not so different from the West Indies Company in their constitutional form. This chapter of the book specifically analyses the Dutch voc to tease out the ways in which the volume’s claim for the ‘distinctive Global Sociology of the Corporation’ can also be applied to Dutch overseas trading companies. Nierstrasz’s chapter delves into the position of Companies within the field of Global History and will then try to relate the distinctive Global Sociology of the Corporation to the Dutch voc. He argues that, although a more general conceptualization of corporations is necessary, it must also be acknowledged that similar global constitutional frameworks could often also create different local outcomes.