XWe have detected your location as outside the U.S/Canada, if you think this is wrong, you can choose your location.

Palgrave Macmillan

Revolutionizing Retail

Workers, Political Action, and Social Change

ISBN 9781137361141
Publication Date February 2014
Formats Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) Paperback Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Retail workers are a large labor force, yet their jobs are generally devalued and dominated by low wages, precarious conditions, and disrespect. Coulter draws on three years of comparative research on retail workers and political action, including fieldwork in Canada, the United States, and Sweden, to explore what is needed to improve workers' wellbeing and transform retail work. The only book of its kind, Revolutionizing Retail explains the strategies being used to improve retail jobs and retail workers' quality of life, including diverse forms of organizing, public policy, and good management. Coulter analyzes the degree to which current efforts are succeeding, and what lessons they offer about the present and future of work, forms of agency, and class, gender, and race relations. The power of culture, emotions, and workers' personal experiences of political action are at the heart of this engaging discussion of the challenges and possibilities of social change.

  • Winner of the Canadian Association For Work And Labour Studies 2015 Book Prize

Kendra Coulter is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Labour Studies at Brock University, Canada. Her website, RevolutionizingRetail.org, highlights strategies for improving retail work and retail workers' lives. Coulter is the coeditor of Governing Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Political Labor, Power, and Government (2012) and is the author of 15 book chapters and journal articles on work and social justice.

1. Retail Matters
2. Retail Detail: The Work and the Workers
3. Sales Floor Solidarity: Understanding Union Organizing in Retail
4. Hunger Games and Crying Games: Barriers to Change
5. Diversifying Political Action in Retail
6. The Battle of Ideas: Retail Work, Workers, and Social Change


"This book is a timely and important contribution to our understanding of work and social change. Kendra Coulter thoughtfully explores the possibility of a revolution in retail that transforms the lives of retail workers, and helps build a more just and equitable society. Revolutionizing Retail is essential reading for anyone interested in labor, gender, sociology, anthropology, or in the need not just for jobs, but for good jobs." - Elaine Bernard, Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School, USA
"Kendra Coulter provides a lucid, accessible, and insightful discussion of strategies for improving retail work, one which, laudably, makes the experiences and voices of often-ignored retail workers a central part of the narrative. This expansive and compelling book offers valuable fodder for everyone concerned about improving standards in this growing sector of the economy, and about the future of work." - Stephanie Ross, Associate Professor and Co-Director, Global Labour Research Centre, York University, Canada
"Coulter should be commended for this valuable contribution to what is still, despite the prominence of retail in global economies, an understudied sector . . . Essential reading." - Times Higher Education
Add a review

Related titles