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Explain T. Adorno and M. Horkheimers critique of the culture industry and discuss whether these are still relevant for understanding cultural production today - Essay Example

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As the name suggest, culture industry refers to production of culture in an industrial setting. Therefore, culture is produced and consumed like any other industrial commodity. commercialisation of culture is a capitalistic idea whose main goal is to maximise profit…
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Explain T. Adorno and M. Horkheimers critique of the culture industry and discuss whether these are still relevant for understanding cultural production today
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Extract of sample "Explain T. Adorno and M. Horkheimers critique of the culture industry and discuss whether these are still relevant for understanding cultural production today"

Download file to see previous pages Therefore, culture is produced and consumed like any other industrial commodity. According to Theodor Adorno, commercialisation of culture is a capitalistic idea whose main goal is to maximise profit. Culture is the slave of the corporate which is used to gain profit. To achieve their goal, the culture on the market must be attractive to the larger segment of the group or society (Adorno & Horkheimer, 1979). Theodor Adorno and Horkheimer have critically analysed the concept of a culture industry. They view the idea as a continuation of a capitalistic system, which aims to reduce cost of production while increasing profit. In a pure capitalistic setting, the factors of production are used efficiently to attain maximum benefits. For example, workers are paid according to their input contribution, which encourage high labour utility. Marxist theory predicted that the capitalist system will eventually fall because it will trigger a social revolution from the exploited workers. The work of the two scholars is pointing out why the social revolution did not happen as anticipated by Marx. Mass media technology is the main factor of production in industrial culture, which includes; use of radio, television and publications. Mass media technology allows information to spread quickly to a large audience (Bottomore, 1984). To understand the critic of Adorno and Horkheimer, it is important to note that they are products of the German culture, which they viewed as superior to the popular culture of many western nations. They referred their culture as high culture that educates and motivates people. On their observation, popular culture is not exciting, and it enhances uniformity in a society. To these analysts, culture industry leads to standardisation in the society, which refers to being accustomed to the products of the culture industry. This makes the public to be addicted to the mass culture and forget to challenge the inequality of the ruling economic system (Marcuse, 1964). In their theory of pseudo individuality, they claim that the culture industry makes an individual a commodity of trade, which is produced and sold in mass. For instance, a music work of an artist can be reproduced in mass and sold to consumers. The artist involved is advertised and treated like any other industrial product making person lose their individual identity as a human being (Adorno, 2001). According to two scholars, the mass culture is the trickery system that politicians use to attain their desired goals, so the popular culture is the tool that enables them to gain support of the masses. For example, during the Second World War, the mass entertainment and information was used to rally Americans to approve and support a war that was long and costly (Kellner, 2003). According to Jarvis (1998) mass media is a deception idea which is meant to enslave the public. Popular culture is the product of all the social classes in a society, but commercialisation of culture differentiated the structure so that they can sell to the larger group in the market. The corporations involved in production and marketing of culture are inherently capitalistic hence they propagate capitalistic ideology. The theorist found the mass media to be blind of the social inequalities in a society. It makes people forget the plain truth of economic and social differences, making them appear as if they are living in a dark cave. Just like in a capitalist system, culture industry uses its own ways of dominance to ensure the control of the masses and the continuity of the system. Therefore, the mass media is the main tool of dominance in the culture industry, which ensures people consume the products of the industry (Martin-Barbero, 1993). It encourages people to forget ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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