Northwestern Events Calendar


GLOBAL LUNCHBOX | A conversation with Claudio Benzecry about his book The Perfect Fit: Creative Work in the Global Shoe Industry

When: Friday, May 20, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Danny Postel  


Category: Global & Civic Engagement, Academic, Lectures & Meetings, Multicultural & Diversity


Register for the event:

Please join us for the Global Lunchbox, a weekly forum convened by the Weinberg College Center for International and Area Studies at Northwestern University featuring conversations with scholars about their current research on a range of critical global issues.

This week we will be joined by sociologist Claudio Benzecry about his new book The Perfect Fit: Creative Work in the Global Shoe Industry, which shows how globalization works through the many people and places involved in making women’s shoes.

About the book

We know a lot about how clothing and shoes are made cheaply, but very little about the process when they are made beautifully. In The Perfect Fit, Claudio E. Benzecry looks at the craft that goes into designing shoes for women in the US market, revealing that this creative process takes place on a global scale. Based on unprecedented behind-the-scenes access, The Perfect Fit offers an ethnographic window into the day-to-day life of designers, fit models, and technicians as they put together samples and prototypes, showing how expert work is a complement to and a necessary condition for factory exploitation.

Benzecry looks at the decisions and constraints behind how shoes are designed and developed, from initial inspiration to the mundane work of making sure a size seven stays constant. In doing so, he also fosters an original understanding of how globalization works from the ground up. Drawing on five years of research in New York, China, and Brazil, The Perfect Fit reveals how creative decisions are made, the kinds of expertise involved, and the almost impossible task of keeping the global supply chain humming.

About the author

Claudio Benzecry is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Sociology (courtesy) at Northwestern University, and Director of Graduate Studies for the Media, Technology, and Society (MTS) program. He is a faculty affiliate of the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program and the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama (IPTD).

He is a sociologist interested in culture, arts, knowledge and globalization. His book The Opera Fanatic: Ethnography of an Obsession (2011) received the Mary Douglas Award for best book in the Sociology of Culture and Honorable mention for the American Sociological Association Distinguished Book award.

He is the editor of three volumes on theory, culture, and knowledge, including Social Theory Now (with Monika Krause and Isaac Reed, 2017). He is co-Editor in Chief of Qualitative Sociology and Chair of the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association.

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