By Robert W. Witkin
Within the a long time due to the fact that his dying, Adorno’s considering has misplaced none of its means to unsettle the settled, and has proved highly influential in social and cultural proposal. To most folks, the leisure supplied by way of tv, radio, movie, newspapers, astrology charts and CD avid gamers turns out innocuous sufficient. For Adorno, even if, the tradition that produces them is eventually poisonous in its impression at the social strategy. He argues that sleek mass leisure is synthetic lower than stipulations that replicate the pursuits of manufacturers and the industry, either one of which call for the domination and manipulation of mass consciousness.
Here Robert W. Witkin unpacks Adorno’s notoriously tricky critique of pop culture in an interesting and obtainable type. having a look first at its grounding in a much wider thought of the totalitarian traits of past due capitalist society, he then is going directly to research, in a few aspect, Adorno’s writing on particular elements of pop culture reminiscent of astrology, radio, movie, tv, renowned song and jazz. He concludes along with his personal severe reflections on Adorno’s cultural theory.
This ebook should be crucial examining for college students of the sociology of tradition, of cultural stories, and of serious idea extra usually.
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It involves a process seventeen lectures given through Theodor W. Adorno in May-July 1968, the final lecture sequence earlier than his loss of life in 1969. Captured via tape recorder (which Adorno known as “the fingerprint of the residing mind”), those lectures current a just a little various, and extra obtainable, Adorno from the one that composed the faultlessly articulated and nearly forbiddingly ideal prose of the works released in his lifetime. right here we will stick with Adorno’s proposal within the means of formation (he spoke from short notes), endowed with the spontaneity and effort of the spoken observe. The lectures shape an awesome advent to Adorno’s paintings, acclimatizing the reader to the better density of suggestion and language of his vintage texts.
Delivered on the time of the “positivist dispute” in sociology, Adorno defends the location of the “Frankfurt School” opposed to feedback from mainstream positivist sociologists. He units out a belief of sociology as a self-discipline going past the compilation and interpretation of empirical evidence, its fact being inseparable from the fundamental constitution of society itself. Adorno sees sociology now not as one educational self-discipline between others, yet as an over-arching self-discipline that impinges on all facets of social life.
Tracing the historical past of the self-discipline and insisting that the historic context is constitutive of sociology itself, Adorno addresses a variety of issues, together with: the aim of learning sociology; the relation of sociology and politics; the effect of Saint-Simon, Comte, Durkheim, Weber, Marx, and Freud; the contributions of ethnology and anthropology; the connection of option to material; the issues of quantitative research; the fetishization of technology; and the separation of sociology and social philosophy.
“North American sociologists, social theorists, and social scientists will welcome the accessibility of this article. it really is good translated, simply learn, and informative on Adorno’s critique of empiricist and positivist sociology. .. One will hardly come across one other textual content like this one, which may make a controversy for a dialectical thought of society whereas additionally displaying nice sophistication within the remedy of old fabrics in addition to within the serious appraisal of analysis equipment. All in all, Adorno’s nice highbrow ardour is seen all through those lectures. They basically construct at the sequence of most excellent books produced by way of the writer in Germany throughout the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties. ” —Critical Sociology
“Adorno an writer of an ‘intro’ publication? This superb quantity is an excellent antidote to the influence that the Frankfurt university adverse empirical study. .. This short paintings is thick with implications for the self-discipline of sociology, which Adorno essentially rethinks. ” —Contemporary Sociology
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Extra info for Adorno on Popular Culture (International Library of Sociology)
All so-called high art was being swallowed up by this ‘effect-culture’; a culture closer in every way to the 22 T H E T H E O RY O F P S E U D O - C U LT U R E model of advertising than to the system of Culture proper. It was this degradation of culture to the level of atomized effects and to the business of ‘communication’ that was the focus of Adorno’s critique. The atomized contents of pseudo-culture answer to the lives of atomized individuals; those who are no longer capable of self-formation and who have already surrendered to the overwhelming power of the collective.
All of these studies in their different ways could be seen as registering the extent to which individuals are dependent in their construction of reality upon signals from others; the extent, that is, to which they are other-directed. Riesman’s other-directed man or woman is the model of adaptation that Adorno criticized in his ‘theory of pseudo-culture’. The central anxiety of the adaptive type springs from the need to fit in, to be assimilated, to identify with the collective order which, in Adorno’s philosophy, is oppressing the individual.
It was this degradation of culture to the level of atomized effects and to the business of ‘communication’ that was the focus of Adorno’s critique. The atomized contents of pseudo-culture answer to the lives of atomized individuals; those who are no longer capable of self-formation and who have already surrendered to the overwhelming power of the collective. In the concept of pseudo-culture the commodified, reified content of culture survives at the expense of its truth content and its vital relation to living subjects.
Adorno on Popular Culture (International Library of Sociology) by Robert W. Witkin