“Never Can Say Goodbye”: US Deindustrialization as Unfinished Business
The introduction establishes Michael Jackson and the city of Detroit as exemplary figures of US deindustrialization: distinct cases demonstrating the racialization of structural economic change. It uses “the deindustrial” to designate the transitional period from the mid-1980s to the present, when the United States increasingly shifted from a manufacturing to a financialized economy. This chapter defines deindustrialization and the deindustrial, argues for performance as a useful critical tool for examining structural economic change, and asserts that both race and images of African Americans have been central to the ways shifts in modes of production have been figured in the United States since the dawn of the industrial age. “Figural economy” describes the ways these images circulate; the formulation is defined here. The introduction concludes by introducing two tropes through which the deindustrial is figured—the beleaguered deindustrialized subject and the ruin—then summarizes the chapters that follow.
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