Media, Information and Technoculture 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Angela Carter

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Political Economy of Media: The Culture Industry
and its Superheroes
Medium Theory: The medium is the message
Culture Theory: The message is the message
Political Economy: The message is money (or profit and power)
Political economy of media deals with the relation between power (politics), wealth (economics) and
media
It deals with issues such as:
Who owns and controls media
The productions process of making media
Hoe media get revenues and make profits
The role of advertising in media
The situation of workers (from stars to interns) in media
How all these factors affect the content of media
Political Economy (history)
origins in 18th & early 19th century Europe
Emergence of market economy, based on the buying selling of good (commodities) = capitalism
Adam Smith: market is best form of society because it maximizes individual freedom, free
market economics
Karl Marx: capital is based on exploitation of workers by owners
The Bloody 20th Century
Marxist revolutions Russia (1917) and China (1949) establish state socialism
Authoritarian state controlled economies, dictatorial communist parties, serious restrictions on
freedom of speed and censorship
Very different from anything Marximagined
Fascism and Nazism appear as genocidal, militarist regimes
Committed to destroy both socialism and liberal democracy
Perfecting propaganda in film, radio and other cultural forms
The Frankfort School
Group of German intellectuals
Theodore Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin
Living in Frankfort during rise of Nazism
Adorno & Horkheimer
Free to US, work for US war effort
Also critical of US culture
Living in Hollywood, LA (dynamo of American movie and TV industry)
See similarities between Us commercial entertainment and Nazi propaganda
Hollywood as Mass Cultural Production
Standardized products
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