2. Critical Theory and the Critique of the 'Culture Industry'
This lecture considers how the Critical Theorists of the Frankfurt School sought to understand the relationship of culture and society in an age of advanced capitalism and mass media. It explores their analyses of popular culture, and poses the question of whether the term 'culture industry' has now lost its original, critical meaning.
Key thinkers: Marx, Gramsci, Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin
1.Has the mechanical reproduction of art opened up possibilities of a more democratic appreciation, or merely reduced it to the status of a commodity?
2.Has ‘the Culture Industry’ killed ‘High Culture’?
Walter Benjamin (1936)
The Work of Art in the Age …show more content…
“By the absolute emphasis on its exhibition value as opposed to an ahistorical cult value, the work of art becomes a creation with entirely new functions, among which the one we are conscious of, the artistic function, later may be recognized as incidental 附属的” (225).
“The audience’s identification with the actor is really an identification with the camera” (p. 228).
Film has a potentially revolutionary use value in that it enables us to explore and understand our world and our historical situation:
“the film, on the one hand, extends our comprehension of the necessities which rule our lives; on the other hand it manages to assure us of an immense and unexpected field of action” (p. 235).
The industry [is]…“trying hard to spur刺激鼓舞 the interest of the masses through illusion promoting spectacles and dubious speculations” (p. 233).
For Benjamin, Mechanical Reproduction included newspapers, film, photography, lithographs…etc. Technology created a way for mass communication—that is reproduction enabled many more people to have access to art than before. Lithographs in the 1880’s allowed for newspapers with illustrations, photography soon followed…. this allowed for the mechanical reproduction of art—that is a photograph