Author Archives: Claudio Benzecry

Claudio E. Benzecry is Professor of Communication Studies and Sociology at Northwestern University. He is the author of The Opera Fanatic. Ethnography of an Obsession, and of The Perfect Fit. Creative Work in the Global Shoe Industry, both published by University of Chicago Press
Close up photos from three different angles of a foot wearing a sample summer shoe. It is a model of a sandal. On the upper left corner "3 attachments" is written with bold font

The Perfect Fit

In my new book, The Perfect Fit: Creative Work in the Global Shoe Industry (University of Chicago Press, 2022) I study the work of repair and maintenance necessary to keep the global scale going. I do so by studying the work and lives of experts in charge of the design and development of shoes for the US market. Research for this project began in 2012. I conducted five years of research between New York City (USA), Dongguan (China), and Novo Hamburgo (Brazil), scrutinizing the friction between expert work and cheap labor in the production of a ubiquitous commodity: leather shoes for the US women’s market. Low-level commodity production is not usually thought of as a place where knowledge is produced. Rather, it is studied either through a global value-chain approach or an attention to shop-floor politics. In this unexpected match between case and theory, I aim to defamiliarize the work of coordinating tacit and embodied forms of knowing. (read more...)