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Abstract

Wal-Mart has been both 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 mobilizations 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.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-115947
2009-08-11
2024-04-16
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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