Turning the Century: Essays in Media and Cultural Studies

By Carol A. Stabile | Go to book overview

structurings that outnumber those of 1898-1899. Knowledge may now be the fundamental commodity, the computer a newly central force of production. Fordist work arrangements give way to home work, part time and temporary work, outsourcing and subcontracting on a global scale. The Internet becomes a new site of marketing, with attendant changes in the scheme of advertising and sales put in place a hundred years ago. We may be seeing the "end of mass culture" ( Michael Denning's phrase 2) and its replacement by fragmented and customized niche entertainments. The old professions are eroding, and the Fordist university is under pressures familiar enough to most likely readers of this book. Those changes, along with the decimation of middle management, suggest that the professional-managerial class may be finishing its historical work and dispersing. Have we entered a new social formation -- a "regime of flexible accumulation," 3 in David Harvey's words? If so, and whatever name this epoch will bear, later observers will probably spot its threshold not at millennium's turn, but in the 1970s and 1980s. Might cultural studies be not just one site of observation but itself a creation of the new order?


Notes
1.
Williams 1990, 20.
2.
Denning 1990, 4-18.
3.
Harvey 1991, 65-78.

References

Denning, Michael. 1990. "The End of Mass Culture." International Labor and WorkingClass History. 37 (Spring): 4-18.

Harvey, David. 1991. "Flexibility: Threat or Opportunity"? Socialist Review. 21, 1 (January-March): 65-78.

Williams, Raymond. 1990. Television: Technology and Cultural Form. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press.

-239-

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