Week 4.docx

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21 Apr 2012
Week 4
Perspectives on the Production of Culture
The Frankfurt School Philosophy
1940s Germany -- Hitler era, rejecting the ideology of the day
Autonomous -- even though they were being paid by people with big pockets, it
meant that they did not have to do the type of work the people paying them to do.
There are no expectations, they had free range to study and use their own
Conscience of society, people that the students as leaders or people they looked
up too. They called out the things that were wrong in that day; they have a certain
intelligence that people look up to and trust.
Criticized the establishment
Questioned dominant ideology
Frankfurt School: Questioning Dominant Ideology
Ruling class -- the ideas of the ruling class or groups in society
Most accepted ideas -- a system of ideas that are most accepted as the explanation
for social reality
How ruling parties maintain their power -- they do this because people accept the
Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer
Frankfurt School scholars -- social relations, believed that the mass was being
deceived but the "dumbing down" of mass media
Ultimate goal to inform the masses of mass deception --
One of their most important works “The Mass Society Theory” - was not
tested, they didn’t talk to people or sample anything, they just stayed in their
office and decided this, but they didn’t include themselves
Mass Society Theory
1) Media are a negative force -- need to be controlled and regulated
2) Mass media are all powerful -- and directly influence attitudes and behaviours
3) Individuals are vulnerable -- to the power of mass media because they live their
lives unaware of how systems of power work to manipulate them
4) Consolidation MERGING of power -- changes in media will continue to
consolidate power into the hands of the few
5) Decline of cultural standards -- mass media brings the decline of cultural
standards and instead they promote what is trivial and uncivilized behaviour
The Mass society theory consists of five parts
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Theodor Adorno and Max Horkeimers constructed the Mass Society Theory
which consists of five parts. The first part states that the media is a negative
force, and must therefore be controlled and regulated.
The second part states that the media is all powerful and directly influences
our attuides and behaviours. The third part indicated that individuals are
vulnerable, in the sense that theya re unaware of the foreces which are
manipulating them. The fourth part is that there is a mergiging of power in
the sense that the changes in the media will continue to give power to a few
people. And lastly, the mass society theory indicates that there is a decline of
cultural statandards.
I think that this theory is for the most part still relevant to current popular
culture, and by saying so I am defining popular culture as everyday life OR
Part two of the theory is indefinitely true as the media plays a large role on
our attuides and behaviours. The hit tv shows
Explain the five parts of the mass society theory. In your
opinion, is the mass society theory applicable to current
popular culture? Explain your response. Make sure to
incorporate concepts, theories and material from
lectures and discussion sessions to illustrate your
response. (You can define „current popular culture‟ in
any way that you choose. Just make sure to explain your
definition to the reader).
“The culture industry: Enlightenment as mass deception (Adorno and
Horkheimer, 1947, 1972)
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