This chapter examines the nature of urban economies in the early 1990s, in the light of the recent arguments in the social sciences about New Times and postmodernity. It provides a conceptual framework for analyzing the empirical findings of recent research into Manchester's 'cultural' industries, its clothing and fashion industries, and so-called 'green businesses', conducted by the Institute for Popular Culture at MMU and its PCFC research team. The chapter emphasizes the exploratory nature, which acknowledges the complexity and scope of the issues involved, and the controversy surrounding the debates around postmodernity. It aims to examine some of the specific claims of postmodern theorists about the economy, and the light they throw on Manchester's current experience. The chapter argues that, just as Manchester's Fordism has to be understood as the product of politics and strategy, at local and national level, so too are the fragments of an emergent post-Fordism which the PCFC research has uncovered.