Some Notes on Fordism and the Industrial City

Some Notes on Fordism and the
Industrial City

Eric Boria

Loyola University Chicago


This paper will explore the legacy of Fordism in an industrial city through the everyday lives of its residents. Although the city’s steel mills are currently undergoing global consolidation, its local markets can be describes as situated in an After-Fordist context. Specifically, this paper will focus on the Fordist compromise and related concepts based in territorially-defined national economies. These historical concepts are witnessing a reconfiguration of the city-state-industry relations. This case addresses the political economy literature on reconfiguration of Fordist urban and institutional forms in a global context. Two cases are presented in this paper. First, organized labor has long created a “buy American” campaign that is based in the premise of a territorially bound US labor force. Second, environmental claims have continuously been made in the industrial city, but the form in which they were enacted differs by historical moment. Intersecting both cases is the approach that claims for the Fordist Compromise can be situated in political economy by employing an analysis of everyday life in an industrial city. This paper will argue that understanding the global consolidation in the steel industry and after-Fordist urban development derives from an industrial habitus that is historically informed by Fordism.

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Some Notes on Fordism and the Industrial City

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