Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Frankfurt School & Critical Cultural theory

The most notable theorists connected with the Frankfurt School were Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse and Max Horkheimer - all committed Marxists who were associated with the Institute for Social Research. They had founded in Frankfurt in 1923 but shifted in 1933 to New York due to II world war. The Frankfurt School in general was profoundly pessimistic about the mass media.

 In this approach cultural industry is completely influenced by media.  They criticized the media’s uniformity worship of technique, monotony, escapism and production of false needs. 

The cultural industry is the base of the quality of life. The view of Frankfurt school was anti capitalist, also anti American.

Critical cultural theory has extend the studies on the significance of media culture for the experience of particular groups in society such as youth, the working class ethnic minorities and other marginal categories.

The Frankfort School scholars claimed that

Mass culture is a debased form in capitalist society: According to Adorno a monopoly control over the production and distribution of culture. He saw the formula of media content and the creation of stars as evidence of this.

Mass culture is designed to produce fauls consciousness 

Mass Culture embodies a hegemonic ideology.

Adorno felt that the new cultural industry produced and maintained the authority of elite.

Cultural industry deceives us rather than enlightening us.

According to Adorno, Commodification is central process in cultural industry.

Mass art was merely a commodity to be sold, it designed to manipulate consumers through pre digested formulas and calculated effects rather than any concern for artistic form or truth content.

Adorno suggested  some change in cultural industry because it determine the quality of life. The Ideology can be decoded differently and even revised.  Popular culture can be distinguished from mass culture.

 A ideology is a set of common ideas occur in mind. Eg. To answer the question who am I ? Why am I? It is a concept, it involves commitment to a recognized position. There is three types of ideology. They are
Dominant ideologyOne which is held by most of the people and defines what is normal and right.

 Subordinate Ideology: Set of ideas that agree with dominant ideology

 Radical Ideology: Set of ideas that is in direct opposition to the dominant ideology.

          The aspect of ideology is visible in Mass communication. Newspapers and media which are owned by individuals or groups who subscribe to a particular ideology often adjust the content of their message accordingly. An ideology is a social phenomenon, it is a collection of beliefs that shared by the members of group.