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Tag Archives: Fordism and Post-Fordism Conference

Model T Ford


International Conference

Fordism and Post-Fordism: Cycles and transformations in contemporary society

New University of Lisbon, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences

10th and 11th February 2012


The development of capitalism throughout the 20th century has accelerated the pace of transformations in the field of production, with a far-reaching impact upon several domains of social activity: from school to work, from family ties to state institutions. The existence of economical cycles tied to the development of technical, political and social paradigms has therefore captured the attention of many researchers, who have categorized historical periods according to a series of axes: the predominant forms of relation between labour and capital, the industrial sectors that push economic growth and the technological innovations with the greatest impact on the productive process.

In this context, the term “Fordism” has been put forward to frame the historical period emerging in the first half of the 20th century and characterized by the massification of both production and consumption, highly developed processes of mechanization, rationalization and standardisation embodied in assembly lines, the central role of the automobile and petrochemical industries, sophisticated techniques of regulation of work conditions and growing state intervention in economic activities.

The term “Post-Fordism”, in turn, has been used to define the ensemble of transformations occurring, since the 1970’s, in spheres such as the organization of labour, the nature of state intervention and the 

technological paradigms applied to production. Different notions have emerged, aiming to characterize such transformations. “Neofordism”, “lean production”, “Toyotism”, “Late capitalism”, “Biopolitics” or, 

more recently, “Informationalism” and “finance-dominated accumulation regime” are some of them. The term “Post-Fordism”, however, has been widely accepted in specialized literature because it leaves room for the plasticity of a multidimensional process in permanent evolution.

This conference aims at questioning the logics and dynamics of both paradigms, the historical contexts of their emergence, the shifts they represented and the conflicts they shaped. It is open to researchers looking to present papers dealing with at least one of the following subjects:

–          Technology, Science and organization of labour;

–          State, regulation and economic planning;

–          Labour struggles, social conflict and resistance;

–          Culture, leisure and consumption.


These papers (Max. 10 pages/20 minutes) may address specific subjects (such as the introduction of Taylorism in a factory or industrial branch, the settings of a collective bargain, a plan to stabilize wages and prices or a strike, for example) or wider problems (like the characterization and interpretation of the paradigms themselves). Papers that address more than one of these subjects or the transition between both paradigms will be particularly welcomed.

Paper proposals must be sent to and should include: title, abstract (Max. 300 words), study field, institutional affiliation and e-mail address.

The deadline for proposals is October 31st 2011.

The authors of the selected proposals shall not be notified until November 15th 2011, and invited to send the texts of their papers until December 31st 2011. The final program of the conference shall be made public in January 2012.

The conference’s official languages will be Portuguese and English.

Raquel Varela, Postdoctoral Research Fellow FCT, Instituto de História Contemporânea, Universidade Nova de Lisboa Study Group on Labor and Social Conflicts, Av. de Berna, nº 26 -C, 1069-061 Lisboa, + 351 21 794 09 21, Portugal. Honorary Fellow IISG (Amsterdam): and


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