PSY 4327 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Mass Society, Culture Jamming, Office Management

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10 Aug 2016
‘Culture Jamming’ as resistance
“...playing with existing dominant media and cultural symbols to impart subversive or alternate meanings to them”
(S&R, p. 73)
“Culture Jam: Hijacking Commercial Culture” (2001)
Weber’s model of bureaucracy
Modern bureaucracy operates with the following expectations:
1. Ordered by rules – laws or administrative regulations
2. Office hierarchy – “clearly established system of super- and sub-ordination in which there is a supervision of the lower offices by the
higher ones”
3. Written documents – and “segregates official activity from the sphere of private life”
4. Office management presupposes specialization and a clear division of labour
5. Official activities demand “the full working capacity of the official”
6. Reduction to rules as a method for function
Bureaucratic organization as dominant
Officials’ loyalty determined through “impersonal and functional purposes”
Bureaucratic organization as supreme over pre-modern methods of organization – “purely technical superiority”
Capitalist market economy “demands that the official business of public administration be discharged precisely, unambiguously,
continuously, and with as much speed as possible” (p. 974)
“ ‘Objective’ discharge of business primarily means a discharge of business according to calculable rules and ‘without regard for persons’”
Perfect bureaucracy
“The more complicated and specialized modern culture becomes, the more its external supporting apparatus demands the personally
detached and strictly objective expert” the absence of humanity:
“When fully developed, bureaucracy also stands, in a specific sense, under the principle of sine ira ac studio. Bureaucracy develops
the more perfectly, the more it is ‘dehumanized’, the more completely it succeeds in eliminating from official business love, hatred,
and all purely personal, irrational, and emotional elements which escape calculation” (Weber, p. 975)
Indispensable nature of bureaucracies
“Where administration has been completely bureaucratized, the resulting system of domination is practically indestructible” (Weber,
p. 987)
“...the material fate of the masses depends upon the continuous and correct functioning of the ever more bureaucratic organizations of
private capitalism, and the idea of eliminating them becomes more and more utopian” (p. 988)
Due to its impersonal character, rationalized inner structure and control over communications
Power position of bureaucracy
1. The political irrelevance of functional indispensability
2. Administrative secrecy
3. Ruler’s dependence on the bureaucracy
Disenchantment of mass society
“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the
disenchantment of the world.” (Weber, Science as Vocation, 1918)
“Complete identification and fulfilment of authentic human needs are possible only under the condition of
transcending manipulation by both the modern market economy and by bureaucratic authority” (Markovic, p.
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