Chapter 1 discussion questions

Agents and methods of social change in the global economy

Shae Garwood and Sky Croeser

In this chapter, Shae Garwood and Sky Croeser provide the context for the book, explain how it builds upon existing scholarship, and describe the unique contributions of the book. It summarizes various frameworks for analyzing social change including corporate social responsibility, improving systems through better design, social movement theories, and the role of civil society actors and transnational advocacy networks. The chapter explains how the case studies in this book contribute to these, and other, bodies of scholarship in order to further understanding how people can change products and systems to respect workers’ rights and increase environmental and social sustainability. The chapter also discusses the points of action discussed in the rest of the chapters and what they reveal about various points of leverage in product lifecycles.



  1. What are some of the most important frameworks for analyzing social change discussed in this chapter? How do they differ?
  2. What are the assumptions about politics, technology and markets within each framework?
  3. Find news stories about the human or environmental cost of global supply chains. Applying different frameworks for change, what options are available for change? At what points in global production systems can there be interventions?
  4. What are some examples of social movements and actions that have created change? Who was involved and what methods did they use?
  5. How do different academic disciplines discussed here examine social change? To what extent does each one emphasize the importance of structures (social, economic, political) versus the agency of individuals, organizations and groups of people in creating change?