The names and events in this description are fictitious, although based on real
people and places.
In this kind of analysis the boundaries of culture and economy blur and inter-
weave, an argument Paul du Gay makes very clearly (2004a).
This thirty-year period corresponds with the late-twentieth-century period
sometimes referred to as ‘‘postmodernity’’ ‘‘late capitalism,’’ or ‘‘post-Fordism.’’
Around this time, forms of production changed from an earlier rigid ‘‘Fordist’’
phase of mass production to more flexible structures tailored to respond quickly
to changing market demands. Innovations in technology, organization, and mar-
keting were an important aspect of these changes. Labor organization became
more flexible; new labor relations and new social formations developed. Capital
was invested for shorter periods and in various industries and ventures around the
globe. Production of many consumption goods shifted to developing countries.
These alterations all contributed to what Harvey (1989) refers to as a new regime
of ‘‘flexible accumulation’’ (see Lash and Urry 1987, Harvey 1989, and Blim
2000). At the same time, individualism and concern with self-identity became
more pronounced conditions of existence—at least in urban centers of developed
economies (Giddens 1991). Characteristics of popular culture also changed in
postmodernity or late modernity and were typified by diversity, pastiche, frag-
mentation, depthlessness, and transience (Jameson 1991).
Producer-driven chains are usually capital- and technology-intensive mass indus-
tries supplying such commodities as cars, computers, and aircraft. These chains
are vertically integrated and control is exercised from the headquarters of transna-
tional corporations that own the factories. In this model, production patterns
often shape consumer choices. In buyer-driven chains, brand-name merchan-
disers and large retailers play an important role by managing production and
utilizing subcontracting networks.
This omission is in part attributable to the authors’ concern for particular aspects
of global commodity chain structure, operation, or e√ects. For example, the role
of state policies or production innovation (Korzeniewicz et al. 1995) or the role of
multinational corporations and international institutions (Talbot 1995), or peas-
ant resistance to innovation in marketing channels (Stanford 2000a). For authors