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Postindustrial Society

  • By: Thomas A. Hutton
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Postindustrial society represents a major conceptual underpinning of geography and geographical discourses, with particular salience for social, economic, and urban geography as well as for allied disciplines and fields. Initially framed by the American sociologist Daniel Bell as a forecast of social change and as an explanation of social tendencies among advanced societies and states during the wrenching experiences of industrial restructuring in the latter half of the 20th century, the idea of the postindustrial society was also positioned as a critique of Marxist theories of production, labor, and social class formation and, more specifically, Marx's insistence on a dominant social binary of capital and proletarian classes.

Initial references to the idea of the postindustrial society include David Riesman's (1958) interpretation of the term to connote ...

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