The Legitimation Crisis of Fordism: Ideological and Cultural Contradictions

  • Alessandro BonannoEmail author


This chapter probes salient ideological and cultural aspects of regulated capitalism. Presented through reviews of the ideas of Antonio Gramsci, Talcott Parsons, and Daniel Bell, these characteristics mandated the creation of a new will-formation that allowed the submission of the working class to the requirements of Fordist production. Additionally, the structuralist critique of Fordist cultural arrangements and Jürgen Habermas theory of the crisis of regulated capitalism are presented. The chapter continues by illustrating the contradictions of regulated capitalism will-formation. Following Habermas theory, it is argued that the culture and ideology of Fordism were incompatible with the requirements of capitalism and could not be upheld through state intervention. The state was unable to maintain mass loyalty while promoting the conditions necessary for the expansion of the economy.


Cultural Contradictions economyEconomy stateState Antonio GramsciGramsci Habermas 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aglietta, Michel. 1979. A Theory of Capitalist Regulation. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  2. Althusser, Louis. 1971. For Marx. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  3. Althusser, Louis and Etienne Balibar. 1979 [1968]. Reading Capital. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Bell, Daniel. 1996 [1976]. The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  5. Bonanno, Alessandro, and Douglas H. Constance. 1996. Caught in the Net. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  6. Frank, Andre Gunder. 1966. The Development of Underdevelopment. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  7. Gramsci, Antonio. 1973. I Quaderni dal Carcere. Rome: Editori Riuniti.Google Scholar
  8. Gramsci, Antonio. 2011. Prison Notebooks. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Habermas, Jürgen. 1975. Legitimation Crisis. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  10. Jessop, Bob. 1990. Regulation Theories in Retrospect and Prospect. Economy and Society 19 (2): 153–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lipietz, Alain. 1982. Towards Global Fordism. New Left Review 132: 33–47.Google Scholar
  12. Lipietz, Alain. 1987. The Globalization of the General Crisis of Fordism. In Frontyard Backyard: The Americas in the Global Crisis, ed. J. Holmes and Colin Leys, 23–56. Toronto: Between the Lines.Google Scholar
  13. Lipietz, Alain. 1992. Towards a New Economic Order: Postfordism, Ecology and Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Luhmann, Niklas. 2012 [1997]. Theory of Society: Volume I. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Parsons, Talcott. 1968 [1937]. The Structure of Social Action. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  16. Parsons, Talcott. 1971. The System of Modern Society. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  17. Polanyi, Karl. 2001 [1944]. The Great Transformation: The political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  18. Thompson, E.P. 1967. Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism. Past & Present (38): 56–97.Google Scholar
  19. Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1974. The Modern World-System, Vol. I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologySam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations