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CS 203 - Conceptual Issues in Communication and Culture

Adorno and Horkheimer - The Culture Industry

Katharine Sickinger

on 16 June 2016

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Transcript of CS 203 - Conceptual Issues in Communication and Culture

Digital Era

Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), were two theorists who together developed the "culture industry thesis"
This thesis suggests that rather than progressing in to greater freedoms in the industrialized world of the 20th century, we have been plunged into greater restrictions
Culture Industry
Individual Choice
Includes the hundreds of choices we make everyday that affect popular culture
Predictable Participation
Our participation in popular culture and what we are entertained by is predictable and standardized
Expected to identify with the general mass culture
However the choices we think are chosen by "choice" are really the culture industries way of keeping us consumers in place in the power structure
Includes: listening to popular music, movies, TV, buying the latest greatest technology etc...you as a consumer and your general involvement with the mass culture
And with that...
By consuming in the industrialized world we are left with unexpected restrictions
Our consumption of everyday objects is encouraging and enforcing hegemonic power
And further...
The idea that as active members of popular culture we have the right to choose what we consume
The idea that:
Mass reproduction of culture = Mass reproduction of ideas
produces effects on people
Most of our consumption contributes to the creation of "false" needs, luxuries, trinkets, and things we want but don't necessarily need
Social media is changing the world as we know it!
Frankfurt School
both theorists
contributed to
Lets take a look...
#EM203 - OC1
Katharine Sickinger

Twitter 101
the school
was critical of capitalism and also exercised the Marxist and hegemonic influence
"individuality" and "hegemonic power"
Hegemonic power = those who produce the popular culture

Individuality = the individuals who consume the popular culture
popular culture
is used as a distraction and device to control and dominate capitalism
The things we consume
Cultural Dupes
When pseudo-individuality and standardization are combined it is suggested that cultural products provide mere distractions and prevent people from reflecting on their own social and class positions in the world
(The consumers)
As a result of massification (single idea going out to many)
As consumers we are subject to become a mass and are easily manipulated by capitalist corporations and authoritarian governments
As consumers we need to protect ourselves against the manipulation that the hegemonic powers and deconstruct the pseudo-individuality that the mass culture presents to us in order to prevent becoming cultural dupes
Our everyday purchases are controlled by mega cooperations creating objectives, values and ideas that us (the consumers) to believe in, therefore structuring social classes to benefit the hegemonic/capitalistic powers
Caused by:
The result:
The things we consume...
Popular Culture
Full transcript