A New Industrial Future?: 3D Printing and the Reconfiguring of Production, Distribution, and Consumption, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A New Industrial Future?

3D Printing and the Reconfiguring of Production, Distribution, and Consumption, 1st Edition

By Thomas Birtchnell, John Urry


134 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138022928
pub: 2016-07-12
Hardback: 9781138022911
pub: 2016-07-15
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pub: 2016-07-15
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A New Industrial Future? examines whether a further industrial revolution is taking place around the world. In this compelling book Birtchnell and Urry examine such a new possible future involving the mass adoption of 3D printing. The locating of 3D printers in homes, offices, stores and workshops would disrupt existing systems and pose novel challenges for incumbents. The book drawing upon expert interviews, scenario workshops and various case studies assesses the potential future of global manufacturing, freight transport, world trade and land use. It offers the first book-length social scientific analysis of the character and impacts of a new system of manufacturing that is in formation. The book will be of interest to urban planners, policy makers, social scientists, futurologists, economists, as well as general readers by offering inquiry on this future upheaval in the means of production.


3D printing has become emblematic for deep-seated, ambivalent, and strange changes in our societies. Increasingly accessible, and increasingly powerful, it is unclear whose digital fabrications will be served by this potentially ubiquitous technology. Will it be manufacturers, hackers, makers, the military, peer-producers, or entirely new social figures? And what about relations between capital, labour, consumption and environment? Birtchnell and Urry provide a clear-sighted and measured analysis into these issues. Drawing upon the historical, geographic and social relations shaping the development of this technology, their book navigates some of the futures open to us, and makes clear the social choices involved right now. - Adrian Smith, Professor of Technology & Society, University of Sussex, UK

Table of Contents

  1. Thinking Additively
  2. A Brief History of 3D Printing
  3. The 3D System
  4. Resources
  5. Transitions
  6. Futurity
  7. Scenarios

About the Authors

Thomas Birtchnell is a Senior Lecturer in Geography and Sustainable Communities at the University of Wollongong, Australia.

John Urry is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Institute for Social Futures, Lancaster University, UK

About the Series



Innovations in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Creative Arts

Series Editors: Anthony Elliott and Jennifer Rutherford

Hawke Research Institute, University of South Australia

This series addresses the importance of innovative contemporary, comparative and conceptual research on the cultural and institutional contradications of our times and our lives in these times. Antinomies publishes theoretically innovative work that critically examines the ways in which social, cultural, political and aesthetic change is rendered visible in the global age, and that is attentive to novel contradictions arising from global transformations. Books in the Series are from authors both well-established and early careers researchers. Authors will be recruited from many, diverse countries – but a particular feature of the Series will be its strong focus on research from Asia and Australasia. The Series addresses the diverse signatures of contemporary global contradictions, and as such seeks to promote novel transdisciplinary understandings in the humanities, social sciences and creative arts.

The Series Editors are especially interested in publishing books in the following areas that fit with the broad remit of the series:

  • New architectures of subjectivity
  • Cultural sociology
  • Reinvention of cities and urban transformations
  • Digital life and the post-human
  • Emerging forms of global creative practice
  • Culture and the aesthetic


Please contact the series editors with proposals for the series at:

Anthony Elliott and Jennifer Rutherford

Hawke Research Institute

University of South Australia

Underdale SA 5032

GPO Box 2471

Adelaide SA 5001




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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General