Frankfurt school culture industry


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  • role of advertising to promote consumerism, increasing use of design to sell new products (styling), 're-designs' of products, throw-away society
  • Frankfurt school culture industry

    1. 1. Emergence of Consumer Society Late 19th century More leisure - Factories Acts - fewer hours, half day Saturday, some sections of population had increased income. Separation of work and leisure becoming more institutionalised. Organised sports. Music halls. Working Mens Clubs. Early - mid 20th century Technology and a reduction in quantity of work. Growth in white collar workers and professionals - better quality of work, more satisfying. Increase in domestic consumption - democratisation of consumption, all groups have more choice. Commercial domination. Emergence of youth and ethnic cultures
    2. 2. <ul><li>Economic historians agree that about half the population - not the poorest and not the wealthiest - enjoyed a substantial rise in their share of real income during and shortly after the Second World War, and that their share remained generally stable from then on. This redistribution to the burgeoning middle class meant an expanded market for homes, cars, appliances and services - a high consumption economy. Production of passenger cars rocketed from 2 million in 1946 to 8 million in 1955. (...) Six thousand television sets were manufactured in 1946 compared to 7 million sets in 1953, by which time two-thirds of American families owned one. High and frequent consumption was encouraged by the ready availability of credit. From 1946 to 1958, short-term consumer credit, most commonly used for buying cars, rose from $8.4 billion to almost $45 billion. And in 1950 the credit card was introduced. In less than a quarter of a century the American economic system had shifted from one based on scarcity and need, to one based on abundance and desire.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Whiteley, Nigel. &quot;Toward a Throw-Away Culture. Consumerism, 'Style Obsolescence' and Cultural Theory in the 1950s and 1960s&quot; THE OXFORD ART JOURNAL-10:2 1987 </li></ul>
    3. 3. Pierre Bourdieu (1930 - 2002) <ul><li>People have all their basic needs met and in order to sustain itself, capitalism had to create new needs and motivations for consumption. </li></ul><ul><li>Capitalist consumption and production became less needs based and more concentrated through symbolic exchange. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Jean Baudrillard <ul><li>Needs are constructed, not innate. </li></ul><ul><li>Purchases/Objects signify something socially, ie they &quot;say something&quot; about their users. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore consumption is more important than production </li></ul><ul><li>There are four ways of an object obtaining value: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. The functional value of an object; its instrumental purpose. A pen, for instance, writes; and a refrigerator cools. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. The exchange value of an object; its economic value. One pen may be worth three pencils; and one refrigerator may be worth the salary earned by three months of work. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. The symbolic value of an object; a value that a subject assigns to an object in relation to another subject. A pen might symbolize a student's school graduation gift or a commencement speaker's gift; or a diamond may be a symbol of publicly declared marital love. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4. The sign value of an object; its value within a system of objects. A particular pen may, whilst having no functional benefit, signify prestige relative to another pen; a diamond ring may have no function at all, but may confer particular social values, such as taste or class. </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Where status depends on displaying differences, goods are used to identify a person, to demarcate social relationships. Jimmy Choo M & S Dolcis
    6. 6. Thorstein Veblen “The Theory of the Leisure Class” (1899) <ul><li>Conspicuous consumption - lavish spending on goods and services that are acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying income or wealth. </li></ul><ul><li>As a means of attaining or maintaining social status. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Conspicuous leisure.” </li></ul><ul><li>Through &quot;conspicuous consumption&quot; often came &quot;conspicuous waste,&quot; which Veblen detested. Much of modern advertising is built upon a Veblenian notion of consumption. </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>&quot;The idea that one disposes of artefacts or products before one needs to in order to buy a more up-to-date or desirable version is at least as old as consumerism and capitalist society, but it is only in the twentieth century that products themselves have been designed and manufactured with some form of conscious style obsolescence.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Whiteley, Nigel. &quot;Toward a Throw-Away Culture. Consumerism, 'Style Obsolescence' and Cultural Theory in the 1950s and 1960s&quot; THE OXFORD ART JOURNAL-10:2 1987 </li></ul>
    8. 9. <ul><li>&quot;Although it was a long way from replicating America's 'high mass-consumption stage' - in 1956 only 8 per cent of homes had refrigerators, for example - Britain was becoming decidedly more consumerist with all that was implied in terms of social mobility and the social role of objects. However, the fear was expressed by some that, not only was Britain importing America's economic system, but it was also being overtaken by American culture. Hollywood films, magazines such as Life and Colliers, comic books, rock'n'roll music and, following the commencement of commercial television in 1955, American television programmes  including 'Dragnet' and 'I Love Lucy' were as loathed by intellectuals as they were loved by large sections of the population.&quot; </li></ul>
    9. 10. Commodity Fetishism <ul><li>Capitalist society wealth presents itself to us as ‘an immense accumulation of commodities’ </li></ul><ul><li>When we buy products tend not to recognise them as products of labour. </li></ul><ul><li>We neither control the things we produce, nor do we recognise them as the product of our labour </li></ul><ul><li>This Marx refers as commodity fetishism; “like gods”, commodities are our creation but appear to us as an alien force which rules our lives . </li></ul>
    10. 11. Marx refers as commodity fetishism; “like gods”, commodities are our creation but appear to us as an alien force which rules our lives
    11. 12. Logic of Capital Pervades the Culture Industries and the Industrialisation of Culture <ul><li>Culture industry and has replaced the human production of artistic and intellectual creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Marketplace governs the production of culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Systematic classification of consumers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic profitability determines value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture products dominated by their exchange value </li></ul></ul>
    12. 13. Culture Industry: Standardization <ul><li>CULTURAL HOMOGENITY ..“Film, radio and magazines make up a system which is uniform as whole and in every part…. ….” Adorno and Horkheimer (1997:120) </li></ul><ul><li>PREDICTABILITY . “As soon as the film begins, it is quite clear how it will end, and who will be rewarded punished or forgotten. In light music [popular music], once the trained ear heard the first note of the hit song, it can guess what is coming and feel flattered when it does come…The result is a constant reproduction of the same” (Adorno and Horkheimer 1997:125) </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Adorno, T., and Horkheimer, M., (1997); Dialectic Enlightenment , London:Verso </li></ul>
    13. 14. ‘ The triumph of advertising in the culture industry’ …‘Is that consumers feel compelled to buy and use its products even though they see through them’ Adorno and Horkheimer
    14. 15. Function of Commodified Culture <ul><li>“ An escape through pure illusion” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Amusement under late capitalism is the prolongation of work. It is sought after as an escape from the mechanised work process, and to recruit strength in order to be able to cope with it again.” </li></ul><ul><li>Industrialized Culture Reproduces Capitalist Relations of Work (You need to work in order to be able to consume commodified culture) </li></ul>