Clothing Labels


Globalization is a concept of central interest to sociologists. Briefly, globalization may be described by sociologists as:

…. an ongoing process that involves interconnected changes in the economic, cultural, social, and political spheres of society. As a process, it involves the ever-increasing integration of these aspects between nations, regions, communities, and even seemingly isolated places.

In terms of the economy, globalization refers to the expansion of capitalism to include all places around the world into one globally integrated economic system. Culturally, it refers to the global spread and integration of ideas, values, norms (Links to an external site.), behaviors, and ways of life. Politically, it refers to the development of forms of governance that operate at the global scale, whose policies and rules cooperative nations are expected to abide. These three core aspects of globalization are fueled by technological development, the global integration of communication technologies, and the global distribution of media. ( (Links to an external site.))

We (the collective “we”) have grown so accustomed to the ideas and practices of globalization that many think of it as a natural arrangement (which it is not) and a good thing for everyone involved (which it isn’t necessarily). For this assignment, we will take a closer and more personal look at the functions and dysfunctions of globalization through the lens of the clothing that we wear on a daily basis.

For writing assignment #2, I would like you to browse through the clothing and/or shoes in your own closet and look for all the different countries listed on the “Made in…” labels. After you have made the list of 5 minimum clothing or shoe items, please answer the following questions for each of the items.

1. Identify the brand name. In what country/region of the world was it made? (Made in Pakistan, Made in India) Were you at all surprised at your findings? Why or why not?

2. Review the following article from the HuffPost on the 10 worst countries for workers rights (Links to an external site.). ( (Links to an external site.))

Using this article as reference, discuss what makes these countries stand out as the worst for worker rights. What sorts of conditions and rights limitations exist in these countries.

NOTE — If any country appears from the list of your items, please mention this in your essay.

3. Next, answer the following question: Besides the country name listed on the label, how much do you really know about these countries? What if you discovered that it came out of a sweatshop with children employed, would you still buy them?

4. Finally, discuss the globalization of the clothing industry first from the functional perspective and then from the conflict perspective. Which of these perspectives best represents your thinking about this practice? Why?

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