Discuss the factory in connection with spaces and subjects of modernity

GG3017: The Spaces and Subjects of Modernity
Dr Denis Linehan

The Factory

The drive for the rational organisation of space is an essential element of modernity, a space where the individual would be Formed and normed”. In this lecture we will explore how many of these processes come together in the factory. The development of the modern factory regulated the time and space of the worker and drew individuals and their bodies into new relationships with machines and administration. It can be argued that modernity for millions of working people was often forged within the factory wall and we will see how these relationships and their consequences were often read on distopic and utopian lines. Particular attention will be paid to the organisation of space and work within the factory through a systme known as Talyorism, which contributed to the development of mass production. We will examine too how the organisation of spaces and times within the factory very often spilled over into new ways of organising the city and society and affected the development of planning and welfare, such as in the development of company towns. Finally we will explore how contemporary developments in the administration and organisation of factory production continues to articulate key modernist trends and continue to demonstrate the spatial basis of modernity.

Learning Outcomes

On the basis of this lecture and associated readings you should expect to be able to:

speculate on the consequences of changing notions of space and time within the modern factory
comment on the modernist logic of factory organisation
suggest ways in which individuals were subjectified within factory systems
discuss the connections between factory, city and society
comment on the significance of the Industrial sublime


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Kevin Hetherington 1997 The Badlands of Modernity: heterotopia and social Ordering, Routledge
David Nye, 1992 Flexible Factoryin his Electrifying America: Social Meanings of a New Technology, 1880-1940, MIT Press, Cambridge MA *
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Judieth Melkle, 1980, A passion for orderin her Management and Ideology: the legacy of the international scientific managment movement, Univerity of California Press. *
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Sharon Zukin, 1993, Landscapes of Power: from Detroit to Disneyworld, University of California Press