Adorno notes

6 June 2017

Theory Adorno argues that Capitalism provides society with the products of a ‘culture industry’ in order to keep them passive to their positions and prevent them from questioning it. Capitalism uses culture as a way of securing the status quo – by providing society with the norms and values of the dominant class.

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Popular culture is the reason for society being passive towards their positions and uninterested in overthrowing the capitalist system – through ‘reminding’ them that this is the way it hould be. Cultural industries produce unsophisticated, repetitive products rather than something which may lead society to question life. They produce programmes with hidden messages which are absorbed by the viewer, enforcing the norms and values of the capitalists.

False needs are created by the capitalist system in order to keep society in a placid state, wanting something that they have been told they should want but that they do not need. This is created and satisfied by the capitalist ystem while also working in their interest. In television, the difference between high and low culture barely exists as it is so easily accessed by everyone and so class distinctions fade – unlike the opera where it is only accessible to a few and so is still seen as high culture.

Adorno uses the example of an underpaid schoolteacher who is living in poverty but is clever and so the underlying message is that she will be okay because she is intelligent. He argues how dangerous the use of stereotypes are ithin television, he uses the example of a young, pretty girl who the viewer should instantly like because she is pretty, ‘a pretty girl can do no wrong’ and so even when she does do wrong, she gets off very lightly with it.

Lecture notes Critical theory not keen on television – not for effect of violence/propaganda Mass audience – same thing sold at the same time, different to live/art TV – entertainment, not art = big audience = big profit – repetitive, series, seasons, run on investment hrough advertising Compound industrial form, tv is accumulation of radio/film/plays/ music/novels Dumbling down? tv is art, – freedom of the art to express anything, mass culture, – makes money, profits, advertising Critique of ideology – obscures real conditions of existence, smooths over issues/contradictions, system of ideas for everyone, relies on compliance of workers with system Critical theory – commercial/ capital interests dominate Critique/opposition/reason suppressed TV more complex – more layers, can be critical

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