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Queer Fordism: Technological bodies moving otherwise

Buckley, Jake 2010. Queer Fordism: Technological bodies moving otherwise. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

This thesis analyses the temporal logic that informs the shift from Fordism to post-Fordism, a highly influential narrative for understanding how developments in technology affect the body in western nation-states from the late nineteenth century to the present. The thesis reads this shift as a history of touch and bodily mobility. First, I study the techniques of factory management known as Taylorism, which provided the basis for the Fordist socioeconomic system. Taylorized Fordism, I show, made working bodies touch technological objects in order to time, represent, and control bodily movements. However, I argue that Taylorized Fordist techniques organize bodies into a space of tactility, which is not the same as invoking Fordism as a predictable system of domination. Second, I discuss socio-historical accounts that outline the reasons for Fordism's eventual failure and replacement, all of which emphasize bodily flexibility as the quality that determines a post-Fordist time. I consider the fate of Taylorism in Fordism's ostensible demise, by explicating the subtlety with which Taylorism is superseded by the more flexible practice of ergonomics. Third, I conduct a philosophical analysis of what it means for bodies to be affected by post-Fordist changes in technological objects, most prominently the transition towards digital media. I refute the notion of a post-Fordist digital age, by arguing that Taylorized Fordism can be interpreted as a model of digital bodily function that persists uncomfortably in the present. The thesis concludes by arguing for the significance of touching tactile technological objectsand tactile technological bodies making contact with one another in ways that produce stasis, rigidity, and hardness Fordist qualities that are unfairly subordinated in a post-Fordist temporal frame. I call these relations 'queer Fordism', whereby a technological body's activity is not contemporaneous with a presumed Fordist-to-post-Fordist continuum.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
T Technology > T Technology (General)
ISBN: 9781303195679
Funders: AHRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 22:12
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54379

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