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Teodor Adorno 's Critique on Mass Culture

analytical Essay
1115 words
1115 words
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Teodor Adorno 's Critique on Mass Culture

“ When I was, later, confronted to the problematic of measuring culture, I understood that culture

had to be precisely this condition that exclude any mindset able to measure it” - Teodor Adorno -

Before the development of education and mass communication techniques, the production and

diffusion of culture followed a simple logic: only a cast of privileged – aristocrats and bourgeois -

had access to a “high culture” (Curran, 1997). Only since the XXth century and the change of the

political landscape as well as the evolution of technology and the liberalisation of the economy has

this trend started to change. Indeed, the rise of large scale press, the invention of cinema, the

success of radio and television, the commercialisation of pocket books and more recently the

uprising of internet and multimedia allowed the majority - which had been excluded because of a

lack of economic wealth - to access information, discover the artistic patrimony and listen to music.

Therefore, the media played an undeniable role in the democratization of culture. Nevertheless,

the question needs to be asked: did this large scale production and diffusion of information erased

all types of cultural inequalities?

This is one of the questions that many academics such as Adorno (2001) tried to understand by

questioning the effects of the industrialisation of culture and media on individuals' culture.

The development of “mass media” has been influencing cultural work and it is thus crucial to

analyse its effects on the audience's independence of thinking. We will also try to understand if

mass communication techniques create a globali...

... middle of paper ...

...ndardisation of culture doesn't necessary imply

a homogenization of consumption.

Bibliography:

James Curran, 1997. Power Without Responsibility: Press, Broadcasting and the Internet in Britain. 5 Edition. Routledge.

Hannah Arendt, 2006. Between Past and Future (Penguin Classics). Revised Edition. Penguin Classics.

Philip Schofield, 2009. Utility and Democracy: The Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham. Edition. Oxford University Press, USA.

Herbert Marcuse, 1991. One-Dimensional Man. 2 Edition. Routledge.

Amin Ash (1994). Post-fordism: A Reader. Blackwell Publishing.

Theodor W. Adorno, 2001. The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture (Routledge Classics). 2 Edition. Routledge.

Walter Benjamin, 2008. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Penguin Great Ideas). Edition. Penguin Books.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that the question needs to be asked: did this large scale production and diffusion of information erased?
  • Describes the questions that many academics such as adorno (2001) tried to understand.
  • Defines culture as: “the total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge.
  • Opines that hannah arentd's particular vision of culture contradicts the type of cultural produced.
  • Explains that frankfurt and its leading philosophers are the first to have pointed to this phenomenon.
  • Uses the term "culture industry" instead of "mass culture" to describe this industrial mode of production.
  • Explains that beethoven's symphony is denatured and can be used for advertising a shampoo.
  • Explains that uk cinemas are produced in hollywood. we can speak of an "americanization" of the world.
  • Describes three arguments that can be opposed to the alienation or conformism of the consumer.
  • Reviews james curran's power without responsibility: press, broadcasting, and the internet in britain.
  • Explains philip schofield's utility and democracy: the political thought of jeremy bentham.
  • Explains that when confronted with the problematic of measuring culture, they understood that culture had to be precisely this condition that exclude any mindset able to measure it.
  • Explains that diffusion of culture followed a simple logic: only privileged casts had access to "high culture". only since the xxth century and the change of the political landscape, as well as the evolution of technology, has this trend changed.
  • Explains that uprisings of internet and multimedia allowed the majority - which had been excluded because of a lack of economic wealth — to access information, discover the artistic patrimony and listen to music.
  • Explains that the development of "mass media" has been influencing cultural work and it is therefore crucial to analyse its effects on the audience's independence of thinking.
  • Analyzes hannah arendt's thesis that works of art are deliberately excluded from communication and isolated far from the sphere of human life necessity.
  • Explains that culture in the xxth century has become a commodity part of an industry and thus subject to market laws. films, radio programs, press use the same.
  • Opines that mass production of ideas created a uniformity of style and content. the conoctations of culture industry are neither guides for blissful life, nor new art of moral responsibility.
  • Explains that mass media with the help of advertising take part in the creation of a dominant taste. culture is one of the main factors of american imperialism.
  • Analyzes how efficiency has made culture a commodity. the media industry creates hits for music, best sellers for books, and stars for cinema.
  • States that walter benjamin (2008) explains that cinema has to exist in the era of reproducibility rather than in a unique production.
  • Argues that jazz music doesn't aim to express freedom. its primary social function is to reduce the distance between the alienated individual and the producer.
  • Explains that the culture industry is synonym of individual manipulation. mass media with the help of advertising take part in the creation of a dominant taste.
  • Explains that their analysis doesn't rely on accurate observation of individual behaviour and on the effect of media reception. their interpretation is based on their perception of the world.
  • Explains that society is shaped by a multitude of factors, and individuals are influenced by an even greater number. the standardisation of culture doesn't necessarily imply.
  • Cites theodor w. adorno, walter benjamin, and the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction.
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