1993 volume 25(12) pages 1725 – 1742

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Francis R, 1993, "Representations of restructuring in the meat-packing industry of Victoria" Environment and Planning A 25(12) 1725 – 1742

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Representations of restructuring in the meat-packing industry of Victoria

R Francis

Received 22 June 1992; in revised form 8 May 1993

Abstract. Disappointment with narrowly cast industrial - political agendas and an irreconcilable gap between theory and everyday life has brought under scrutiny post-Fordist-derived accounts of industrial restructuring and capitalist social change. In this paper, it is suggested that this inadequacy can be traced to the commitment of post-Fordist writers to periodizing capitalist development as a way of defining the philosophy of capitalism. Both these tasks are pursued with, at best, a limited awareness of postmodern critiques of the modernist project. After a critique of post-Fordist methodologies, an alternative for understanding industrial restructuring is outlined by means of a case study. Recently, in Victoria, a southern state of Australia, a bitter industrial dispute has ensued concerning various attempts at restructuring. It is argued that the role of language is crucial in defining communities of interest and in defining social norms. The economic circumstances of this case indicate that they are not an automatic determinant of industrial restructuring.

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