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Abstract

This article reviews the last decade of scholarship on a leading corporate social responsibility initiative: the use of codes of conduct and monitoring in the global garment industry. The review focuses on three debates in the field: the evaluation of code and monitoring effectiveness, the problematic of various relationships in transnational anti-sweatshop campaigns, and the meaning of private regulation vis-a-vis state enforcement. The article concludes that codes and monitoring do not constitute a solution to the sweatshop problem and certainly cannot substitute for state enforcement or worker organizing. If private regulation is to contribute to a solution in a meaningful way, it must move from a model that presumes compliance and, therefore, focuses on ferreting out violators, to one that assumes non-compliance, and so concentrates on altering the structure of the industry.