Adam Reich. Working for Respect: Community and Conflict at Walmart

Monday, September 10, 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

Co-sponsorship by IRLE and the Berkeley Labor Center

Working for Respect: Community and Conflict at Walmart

In Working for Respect, Adam Reich and Peter Bearman examine how workers make sense of their jobs at places like Walmart in order to consider the nature of contemporary low-wage work, as well as the obstacles and opportunities such workplaces present as sites of struggle for social and economic justice. They describe the life experiences that lead workers to Walmart and analyze the dynamics of the shop floor. As a part of the project, Reich and Bearman matched student activists with a nascent association of current and former Walmart associates: the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart). They follow the efforts of this new partnership, considering the formation of collective identity and the relationship between social ties and social change.  The book draws on a wide array of methods, including participant-observation, oral history, big data, and the analysis of social networks, to reconsider the modern workplace.

Adam Reich received his PhD in sociology from UC Berkeley in 2012, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar at Columbia from 2012 to 2014.  He focuses on economic and cultural sociology.  Much of his research concerns how people make sense of their economic activities and economic positions within organizations.  Reich is the author of four books, the most recent of which is Working for Respect: Community and Conflict at Walmart (Columbia, 2018).  He is also the author of several peer-reviewed articles, which have appeared in journals such as the American Journal of Sociology and Social Science & Medicine.