By Robert W. Witkin
Within the a long time in view that his dying, Adorno’s pondering has misplaced none of its ability to unsettle the settled, and has proved highly influential in social and cultural concept. To most folk, the leisure supplied by way of tv, radio, movie, newspapers, astrology charts and CD avid gamers turns out risk free adequate. For Adorno, besides the fact that, the tradition that produces them is eventually 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 marketplace, 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 interesting and obtainable sort. taking 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 aspect, Adorno’s writing on particular points of pop culture similar to astrology, radio, movie, tv, renowned track and jazz. He concludes together with his personal serious reflections on Adorno’s cultural theory.
This booklet should be crucial interpreting for college kids of the sociology of tradition, of cultural reports, and of severe conception extra more often than not.
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Extra resources for Adorno on Popular Culture (International Library of Sociology)
It was dominated by the model of mechanical assembly, of standardization and of repetition that was at the heart of industry. The culture industries even sucked the remnants of serious art into their mills, grinding its material down into the stuff of cultural goods that were not essentially different from all the other commodities produced by the culture industries. 40 THE DIALECTIC OF ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE RING Homes as ‘machines for living in’ The ideology of liberal democracy took seriously the proposition that capitalism had produced, among its benefits, an increased freedom for individuals.
The need of fashion is thus the diametrical antithesis of the need of art; for 37 THE DIALECTIC OF ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE RING the artistic need cannot possibly be present where fashion is the lawgiver of life . . (Wagner 1993: 84–5) These structural resonances between the two projects do not imply that there were not real differences between these thinkers at the level of fundamental ideas. The fact is that Adorno and Horkheimer’s study aims at telling a structurally similar story to Wagner but telling it differently, with its key concepts interpreted differently.
On the one hand, it was this very claim to self-sufficiency, and to the distance and independence of Culture from empirical reality, which ensured that Culture’s relationship to society was one of resistance and criticism. On the other hand, the selfsufficiency of Culture meant that it was, in effect, exiled from the praxis of everyday life and made no real contribution, in the positive sense, to shaping that life. Thus modernist art had attained an autonomy status that meant it was free to be critical but the very attainment of this freedom coincided with the loss of any consequential relationship to the praxis of everyday life.