Download Adorno on Popular Culture (International Library of by Robert W. Witkin PDF

By Robert W. Witkin

Within the a long time due to the fact his loss of life, Adorno’s considering has misplaced none of its ability to unsettle the settled, and has proved highly influential in social and cultural idea. To most folks, the leisure supplied by means of tv, radio, movie, newspapers, astrology charts and CD avid gamers turns out innocuous sufficient. For Adorno, notwithstanding, the tradition that produces them is finally poisonous in its impression at the social method. He argues that smooth mass leisure is synthetic less than stipulations that mirror the pursuits of manufacturers and the industry, either one of which call for the domination and manipulation of mass consciousness.

Here Robert W. Witkin unpacks Adorno’s notoriously tough critique of pop culture in an attractive and obtainable kind. having a look first at its grounding in a much broader concept of the totalitarian traits of past due capitalist society, he then is going directly to learn, in a few element, Adorno’s writing on particular points of pop culture comparable to astrology, radio, movie, tv, renowned tune and jazz. He concludes along with his personal serious reflections on Adorno’s cultural theory.

This ebook should be crucial examining for college kids of the sociology of tradition, of cultural stories, and of serious concept extra more often than not.

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Additional resources for Adorno on Popular Culture (International Library of Sociology)

Sample text

The same point is made by Peter Burger (Burger 1984). Furthermore, Adorno argued, this dream of Culture as freedom from the dictatorship of means, from sterile utility, served as an apology for a world in which the domination of means and slavish conformity was established as fundamental. Adorno’s defence of the autarchy of Culture has thus to be seen in dialectical terms. There is a tension between the claims of Culture to be free and independent, to be a value in itself, and the claims upon culture to be adaptive and thus to negotiate the demands of an empirical world and its entanglements.

Massification demands nothing less. ‘Marked differentiations such as those of A and B films, or of stories in magazines in different price ranges, depend not so much on subject matter as on classifying, organizing, and labelling consumers’ (Adorno and Horkheimer 1979: 123). The lack of differentiation among products – the demand that all products should be essentially similar and only manifest superficially distinctive features – follows from the fact that the culture industry is oriented to the production of reliable effects that are to be worked upon the consciousness of the consumer.

Not only does such isolation culminate in a divided consciousness but it belies the very content of consciousness, the claims of Culture to be about humanity and spirit. The latter become, in a divided consciousness, merely cultural goods. Tradition, too, is an essential ingredient in Culture with a capital ‘C’. Tradition, established through practice and association, ensures the continuity and development of consciousness in which everything not actually present survives and plays its part in shaping events.

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