Charismatic Capitalism

Charismatic Capitalism: Direct Selling Organizations in America is the title of a monograph written by the sociologist Nicole Woolsey Biggart and published by the University of Chicago Press in 1989. This entry describes the book’s argument, situates it within the broader intellectual currents at the time of its publication, examines its immediate reception, and describes how it has been referenced in the ensuing decades.

Charismatic Capitalism is about the history of direct-selling organizations (DSOs) and the experiences of the women and men who work within them. Direct selling involves the face-to-face sale of goods or services at a location, such as a salesperson’s home, that is not an established business. Tupperware and Mary Kay Cosmetics are examples of well-known DSOs. As of 1984, 5 percent of ...

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