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Lecture 6

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Communication Studies
Hayward T

Cs 101 Media labour and cultural production Cultural production: Fordism and after In the previous discussion of cultural industries, we have discussed how media industries are organized Media industries have mixed highly formalized and rigid forms of mass production (Fordism) with flexible forms of production (post-Fordism) central to understand the industry which makes culture The relationship between Fordism to post-Fordism is central to understanding how the organization of production and labour in the cultural industries (and media in particular) is situated in the economy as a whole Fordism and post Fordism Fordism is a way of organizing the economy that involves: Fordism is linked to ford. Ford is famous for introducing and perfecting the assembly line. -an economy organized around both mass production and mass consumption -goods are produced on a mass scale, with a standard level of quality -efficient production organized through the formalization of labour (taylorist factory. Not necessary for every worker to know everything about what their making) While fordist production is often associated with the production of industrial goods (i.e. Henry fords invention of the automobile assembly line), Fordism has been adapted to cultural production: -the Hollywood studio system (1925-1960) -Tin Pan Alley (1885-1935) Media industries have mostly abandoned the formalization of production for the following reasons: -such a system requires significant investment (caste, studio space) -less responsive to the demands of audiences -labour able to get higher wages through competition -consumers wanted to define identity through consumption The fordist organization of production has been adapted to include new ways of organization the labour of workers in media industries; this has been described as post-fordist or flexible capitalism. It involves: -an economy based on mass consumption of differentiated goods -efficient and changeable organization of production through flexible organization of supply chain (just in time). Producing products as they are seem to be in demand (ex. Apple doesn’t produce iPhones all at once, but when they are demanded) -precarious labour contracts, contingent of demand of the market Post Fordism- don’t need people to work when
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