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Notes on Post-Fordism and Post-Modernism

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Notes on post-Fordism and postmodernism
Post-Fordism and Postmoderism: * Capitalism requires a large number of low-skilled workers willing to put up with alienating, repetitive work on mass production assembly lines. This system is often called Fordism because the Ford motor company was the first to introduce this. * Bowles and Gintis’ correspondence principle states that school mirrors the work place, and see the mass education system as preparing pupils to accept this kind of work. * Postmodernists argue that this view is out-dated and that society has entered a new postmodern phase and are now fundamentally different from the modern society that both Marxists and Functionalists have written about. * Postmodernists reject the Marxist idea that we still live in a two class society, and the claim that education reproduces class inequality. * They argue that class divisions are no longer important and that society is now much more diverse an fragment. * Postmodernists also argue that the economy has shifted away from assembly-line mass production and is now based on ‘flexible specialisation’ where production is customised for small specialist markets. * The Post-Fordism system requires a skilled, adaptable workforce able to use advanced technology and transfer their skills rapidly from one specialised task to another. * Post-Fordism calls for a different kind of education system where instead of preparing pupils to be low-skilled, low-paid, obedient workers, they should be taught self-motivation, self-supervision and creativity. It should also provide lifelong retraining, because rapid technological change and intensified competition in the globalised economy constantly make existing skills obsolete. * Postmodernists argue that education has become more diverse and responsive to the needs of different individuals and groups. * In their view the correspondence principle no longer operates. * Unlike Marxists, postmodernists argue that education reproduces diversity not inequality.

Explain the difference between Fordist and Post-Fordist production systems:
The difference between Fordist and Post-Fordist production systems is that the Fordist production requires a very large amount of low-skilled workers who are willing to put up with the alienating and repetitive work on mass production assembly lines. On the other hand the Post-Fordist production system requires a skilled, adaptable workforce who is able to use advanced technology and transfer their skills rapidly from one specialised task to another.
Why do postmodernists argue that Post-Fordism needs a different type of education system from that described by the correspondence principle?
They argue that Post-Fordism needs a different type of education systems because it is outdated, the Post-Fordist education system mirrors the work place which they said is a place to prepare pupils to accept work that requires low-skill and the acceptance to do repetitive and alienating work. They also say that because the economy has shifted away from mass production and is now based on flexible specialisation where production is customised for small specialist markets so there must be a new education system where students are taught self-motivation, self-supervision and creativity. They then add that the new education system should provide lifelong retraining because of the rapid change in technology and intensified competition within the globalised economy. Essentially, they argue that post-fordism needs a different type of education system because the old one is out dates and doesn’t teach pupils the skills that are now required to get a job.

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