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The Frankfurt School

Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin & the Gang

Jon Meier

on 28 July 2010

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Transcript of The Frankfurt School

The Frankfurt School they saw a link between Nazi Propaganda & Post War American Capitalism 1940s - 1970s neo-marxist the culture industry ideological control over the masses The pre-conditioning is subjected to additional indoctrination by a standardized media. The media teaches " to behave and consume in accordance with the advertisements, to love and hate what others love and hate... "Social interests impose "false" needs. The "false" needs can gratify the individual but they "perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery and injustice." The endless drives for these endless "false" needs require additional efforts, and brings frustration and despair that create hostility. Marcuse: false needs - lead to false hopes & aspirations commodity fetishism commodification of labour & social interaction Adorno - analysis of pop music - talks about exchange value as more important than use value passive acceptance of capitalist values
- even working classes have a vested interest in preserving it
(links to Gramsci's ideas on hegemonic consensus)
working class no longer have a desire to overthrow capitalism industrialization of culture
Hollywood Studio & star system, TV, pop music
illusion of individualism celebrity culture is standardization and manufacturing of myths, masquerading as a celebration of individuality
Adorno condemns the uniformity and conformity of mass popular culture Adorno: "conformity has replaced consciousness" popular music is "catharsis for the masses";
it breeds dependence & conformity low vs high culture- the criticism is that this is an extremely elitist view of culture
but the Frankfurt School was primarily interested in the concept of popular culture from a neo-Marxist perspective Walter Benjamin took a more charitable view of
popular culture. For him, industrialisation (film, photography etc) meant that culture became more democratic and accessible Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer
& Walter Benjamin the culture industry is a form of mass deception cultural products are commodities produced
by a capitalist economy choice and diversity are illusions
- in fact for Adorno, cultural commodities are standardized, uniform and ultimately 'authoritarian' they are also empty & mind-numbing lowest common denominator dominant ideology / dominant reading- no scope for oppositional reading in mainstream culture = ?
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