Towards a Marxist understanding of the charity retail form
Livingstone, Nicola Diane
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This thesis examines the development of the charity retailing form, adopting an open Marxist approach which can uncover the practices with create and reproduce this social practice. The ruptures and struggles which permeate capitalist society flow through the charity retailer and consequently through the body of the research. The labour processes within the charity retailer and the spatial representation of the urban form of the charity retailer within the built environment are the central research themes to be addressed. The research was primarily based around the relations at shop floor level and the various actors who reproduce these practices, such as volunteers, managers, area managers and those within the management hierarchy. The research decided to look at charities which have developed to become more professional and commercial in their response to charity and also retailing, to offer an analysis of a retail form under transformation. Mixed research methods were implemented, with both qualitative and quantitative analysis carried out through the software programmes NVivo8 and SPSS respectively. The research suggests that the charity retailer has become a capitalist charity retailer, which chooses locations conducive to profit maximisation and the availability of a strong volunteer base. The charity retailer exists through antagonism of rent/location, volunteer/management and capital/charity. The charity retailer is consistently struggling against the capitalist form of reproduction, attempting to negate the consequences of capitalist crises, however it is a form which is constantly subsumed and limited by the capitalist mode of reproduction.