The Impacts of Wal-Mart: The Rise and Consequences of the World's Dominant Retailer

22 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2010

See all articles by G. Gereffi

G. Gereffi

Duke University - Department of Sociology - Director, Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness

Michelle M. Christian

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 1, 2009

Abstract

Wal-Mart has been praised and pilloried as a template for twenty-first century capitalism. Therein lies the challenge in analyzing the world's largest retailer. We examine the sociological impact of Wal-Mart in terms of four themes: its business model and organizational structure, the dual impact of Wal-Mart's labor relations in terms of its own stores and working conditions in its global supply chain, the genesis and effectiveness of community mobilization against Wal-Mart, and how Wal-Mart's growth is linked to the emergence of buyer-driven commodity chains in the global economy. Wal-Mart underscores the value of a public sociology agenda that embraces three research criteria: the incorporation of new media and audiences, the need to go global with our research, and the ability to work for change from within.

Keywords: globalization, labor, community mobilization, buyer-driven commodity chains

Suggested Citation

Gereffi, Gary and Christian, Michelle M., The Impacts of Wal-Mart: The Rise and Consequences of the World's Dominant Retailer (August 1, 2009). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 35, August 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1523785

Gary Gereffi (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Sociology - Director, Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness ( email )

Box 90088
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
919-660-5880 (Phone)
919-684-2855 (Fax)

Michelle M. Christian

University of Tennessee, Knoxville ( email )

Department of Sociology
901 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

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