Wal-Mart’s failed entry into the German retail market represents a puzzle for theories of globalization, which assert that more efficient producers will drive out poorly performing competitors, producing profits for themselves and gains for consumers. Wal-Mart’s ability to dominate its input network and to provide low-cost leadership through lean production has often been seen as the global example of creating efficiencies in the retail sector. In 2006, however Wal-Mart abandoned an eight-year effort to become a dominant player in Germany’s retail market. I argue that efficiency is not absolute, but rather context-specific and socially constructed. Domestic culture and institutions interact to constrain convergence towards a single business model in the retail sector. In the end, it was not the rigidity of German market conditions—such as high labor costs or union power—that led to failure, but rather the inflexibility of Wal-Mart’s strategy in coping with complex local conditions.
Máiréad Nic Craith
This article examines changing discourses of exclusion/inclusion between writers of a non-German background and those whose families have traditionally lived in Germany. Referring to the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize, it critiques discourses of difference used in recent decades to describe “migrant” writers in Germany and evaluates some reactions to their writings by the German reading public. With reference to the concept of print-capitalism, the article explores the “new semantic vistas” opened up by migrant writers and the implications of their writing styles for both linguistic and national boundaries. Drawing on original ethnographic interviews with migrant authors, it queries the relevance of binary logic at the beginning of the twenty-first century and argues for greater recognition of the contribution of these writers to the literary landscape in Germany and beyond.
’, yet to this day anthropology’s ‘encounter’ with the secular has largely remained outside the purview of its introspection. 3 This oversight has persisted despite anthropology’s concern with sundry other powerful formations—capitalism, imperialism