sls525
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Hi.
Can anyone simply explain what Adorno means by culture industry and how this can be used in conjunction with us being 'homogeneous consumers'.
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i2763sh
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The culture industry is the idea that popular culture - that is television, cinema, music, magazines, etc. manipulates us into passivity to capitalism. The Frankfurt School were writing at a time of huge social change, addressing the failures of classical Marxist theory (which had falsely predicted the establishment of socialism/communism, but socialist revolution has amounted to nothing but a new form of domination and oppression in the Soviet Union,) and fascism in their homeland of Germany. Fleeing fascism, they went to the USA, where they were met by an entirely different culture of liberal capitalism and consumerism which they sought to analyse. Supposedly, liberal capitalism would bring benefits and freedoms to the working class , however Adorno and the Frankfurt School saw this system as simply another form of domination - comparable to fascism in Germany, and Stalinism in the Soviet Union (it might be worth looking up Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man if you're interested.)

A major way Adorno saw this system as manifesting itself is through popular culture, a phenommenon which truly began to develop in its contemporary form in the first half of the 20th century due to technological developments such as mass media. Adorno argues that popular culture functions like a factory, producing homgenous cultural goods (e.g. television, popular cinema and music, magazines) which manipulate us into passivity and complacency to capitalism, because we act as passive consumers with no ability for critical thought. High-art (traditional art forms, often associated with the upper classes, such as opera) have been replaced by low-art (mass-produced cultural products often seen as having little artistic value.)

Importantly, mass-culture, i.e. popular films, music, etc. is often generic, manipulative, devoid of meaning and interchangeable. Therefore, Adorno argues that the culture industry kills our imagination, determines how we think, constructs as as passive consumers (because we are delivered cultural 'goods' in the form of popular culture) and kills our ability for critical thought. Furthermore, culture becomes increasingly homogenous, as films, music, and even books become increasingly generic, follow set plot lines, etc. The culture industry exists as a means for big businesses to profit, in an age of mass-production where cultural goods can be distributed on a mass scale.

However, one major criticism of Adorno's work is that it arguably falls into the realms of the same bourgeois elitism which Adorno, as a Marxist, should seek to criticise. High art has always been associated with the upper classes, as opposed to low art with the masses. In addition, postmodernists would criticise he division between high and low culture.

I hope this is simple enough?

Also I promise I'm not a stalker but you don't happen to go to a certain sixth form college in Hampshire do you?
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sls525
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(Original post by i2763sh)
The culture industry is the idea that popular culture - that is television, cinema, music, magazines, etc. manipulates us into passivity to capitalism. The Frankfurt School were writing at a time of huge social change, addressing the failures of classical Marxist theory (which had falsely predicted the establishment of socialism/communism, but socialist revolution has amounted to nothing but a new form of domination and oppression in the Soviet Union,) and fascism in their homeland of Germany. Fleeing fascism, they went to the USA, where they were met by an entirely different culture of liberal capitalism and consumerism which they sought to analyse. Supposedly, liberal capitalism would bring benefits and freedoms to the working class , however Adorno and the Frankfurt School saw this system as simply another form of domination - comparable to fascism in Germany, and Stalinism in the Soviet Union (it might be worth looking up Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man if you're interested.)

A major way Adorno saw this system as manifesting itself is through popular culture, a phenommenon which truly began to develop in its contemporary form in the first half of the 20th century due to technological developments such as mass media. Adorno argues that popular culture functions like a factory, producing homgenous cultural goods (e.g. television, popular cinema and music, magazines) which manipulate us into passivity and complacency to capitalism, because we act as passive consumers with no ability for critical thought. High-art (traditional art forms, often associated with the upper classes, such as opera) have been replaced by low-art (mass-produced cultural products often seen as having little artistic value.)

Importantly, mass-culture, i.e. popular films, music, etc. is often generic, manipulative, devoid of meaning and interchangeable. Therefore, Adorno argues that the culture industry kills our imagination, determines how we think, constructs as as passive consumers (because we are delivered cultural 'goods' in the form of popular culture) and kills our ability for critical thought. Furthermore, culture becomes increasingly homogenous, as films, music, and even books become increasingly generic, follow set plot lines, etc. The culture industry exists as a means for big businesses to profit, in an age of mass-production where cultural goods can be distributed on a mass scale.

However, one major criticism of Adorno's work is that it arguably falls into the realms of the same bourgeois elitism which Adorno, as a Marxist, should seek to criticise. High art has always been associated with the upper classes, as opposed to low art with the masses. In addition, postmodernists would criticise he division between high and low culture.

I hope this is simple enough?

Also I promise I'm not a stalker but you don't happen to go to a certain sixth form college in Hampshire do you?

Thank you that was ever so helpful. Much appreciated. It was summed up easier than what I've been able to find online. Lol no sorry, I live in Birmingham.
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