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Cultural Industry - Adorno and Horkheimer

            The ˜culture industry' was a concept developed by Adorno and Horkheimer. Outline the key aspects of their approach and evaluate its relevance to our contemporary understanding of the media in society. The term "culture industry " was coined by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno in 1947, the critical term was first utilized in his book Dialectic of Enlightenment (Adorno et al., 1975). Both Adorno and Horkheimer were critical sociologists in the Frankfurt school of thought but in developing their ideas behind the "culture industry " they took a more political approach (Kellner, 1975). The theory behind the culture industry was seen as the dominant theory, their ideology was predominantly negative, and it was the way certain institutions policed society. Both of these theorists, Horkheimer and Adorno, were refugees in the second world war, which has had some implications on their writing. In this essay, I plan to focus on how the "culture industry " was developed by looking at how critical thinkers, Adorno and Horkheimer, used political economy ideas and neo-Marxism ideas in doing this. The concepts of the culture industry in which I am focusing on are how the media industry deploys a mass deception, how the culture is standardized and commodified. I then plan to compare this to the content that is present in more contemporary media. .
             Adorno and Horkheimer used a political approach in defining the "culture industry ". This approach was "concerned with how the capitalist class promote and ensure their dominant or hegemonic position " (Devereux, 2007) within society. The media was controlled by the "bourgeoisie " or upper class of society. These upper class citizens were seen as the "minority " group but only in numbers because the owners of the media were very few (Kerr, 2014). The approach to the media was only concerned with proving content that was aimed at this minority group as they held the power of freedom to indicate what type of information they wanted (Kellner, 1975).

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