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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Ray Hudson

Hudson, R. Economic Geography: Fordism. In: Thrift, N. & Kitchin, R. International Encyclopaedia of Human Geography. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2009:226-231.

Author(s) from Durham


The term ‘Fordism’ has many meanings. It originated as a description of the radical new way of organising the mass production of automobiles developed by Henry Ford in the early years of the twentieth century. Later it became used to describe a particular macro-scale model of the organisation and linking of mass production and consumption, often seen as the canonical model of capitalist development in the second half of the twentieth century. At both micro- and macro-scales, Fordism has distinctive geographies, of production, exchange and consumption. While the twentieth century can be characterised as that of Fordism, by the end of that century there was a lively debate as to whether it was being replaced by some sort of post-Fordist successor. As of now that debate remains to be settled one way or the other but the evidence of continuing mass production and consumption, and indeed its expansion into the new spaces of emerging economies such as those of China and India, with all that that implies for environmental destruction, is difficult to discount.