The dismantling of once-dominant Fordist forms of sociopolitical and economic organization has forced millions to remake their lives amidst an uncertain future. This panel documents and theorizes how life and politics are being made from within this changing landscape.
The dismantling of the once-dominant Fordist forms of sociopolitical and economic organization has forced millions to remake their lives amidst an uncertain future. This is true both for those who experienced the disciplining embrace and material effects of these forms, as well as those for whom such forms remained a distant aspiration. The post-Fordist era has witnessed the disappearance of certain modes of production, consumption, and accumulation, especially those that once guaranteed mass employment and animated an industrialized utopia. Of course, some welcome the disruption of the industrialism that underwrote Fordist models, with its arrogant belief in mastering the Earth and attendant ecological devastation. Others lament the passing of work(er)-based forms of sociality and social membership, which accompany the slow—yet also likely permanent—disappearance of waged forms of life. Indeed, as the Fordist social contract between state and worker/citizen is coming undone, so are the institutions designed to stabilize social reproduction and secure life courses. Much scholarship has rightly documented the precarity, loss, abjection and nostalgia attending such transformations. Yet this is not the whole story. This panel seeks papers that document and theorize how life and politics are being made from within this changing landscape. What lies in in the wake of Fordism and its promise of "mass utopia"? What forms of life and visions for the future has the collapse of these powerful cosmologies created? And what kinds of political projects emerge out of this ruination?