PCUL 1F92 Lecture Notes - Tegan And Sara, Frankfurt School, F. R. Leavis
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PCUL1F92 Section 1: Tuesday, October-11-11
* This class was a continuation of the lecture from Thursday October 6, 2011.
•Everything, including culture, is turned into a saleable
commodity. Even our past times are for sale.
•“Commodity Fetishism” – influence from Marx in reference to.
Notion that we get our identity and sense of worth through
what we own.
•“Exchange value deceptively takes over the functions of use value” –
What something is worth on the market becomes its value,
not what it’s really worth – not the ‘heart’ of its worth.
e.g. Hammer – monetary value = wood, metal it was made
out of, transportation costs.
*image of concert tickets – The Police tickets vs. Tegan & Sara tickets
What do we actually get when we buy a concert ticket? We pay $92 for
tickets to see The Police and $25 to see Tegan and Sara. Ultimately these
are just pieces of paper. We can’t exchange our tickets after the event.
Why the cost difference?
•What do we actually get with a concert ticket.
•Experience, but nothing of actual physical value. No literal value.
•Sometimes the more we pay, we might actually get less.
Exchange Value vs. Use Value
•How is a cultural commodity valued?
•How do they have monetary value and distinction that is far above
their use value?
Where all we got was a piece of paper with information on it and
the ‘memories’ associated with the experience of attending a
concert. We can’t actually exchange that for other goods.
•Marx distinguishes between exchange value (what people will
•Focus on this suggests [the Marxist] political leanings of Frankfurt
•For Leavis and other mass culture theorists, threat is to social and
cultural power of the elite.
•For Frankfurt school, the threat is from the elite – those in power.
oSee mass culture as a way of maintaining their power through
forms of social coercion.
•Both sides would argue that mass culture is a distraction.
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