12.19.14

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The Frankfurt School and the Problem with Popular Culture: The Culture Industry as Mass Deception Revisited

Nelanhta K. Riley
Sociology
Mentor: Dr. Christopher Faircloth

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Abstract

The turn to the 21st century and the technological advances that came with it have made the culture industry a force to be reckoned with, but at the same time changing the dynamics of the marketing arena. Now more than ever, the Internet has become a marketing entity in its own right. The varying industries of culture are no longer the gatekeepers of public opinion and product critique. With this change, some in the sociological field question whether or not the theories developed by Horkheimer and Adorno can account for these changes. The purpose of this paper is to reexamine the critique of culture production within The Dialectic of Enlightenment and utilize current articles to support the theories that Horkheimer and Adorno put forward. The overarching goal of this paper is to use the most recent empirical work to posit that the concepts Horkheimer and Adorno developed can go beyond time differences and still accurately apply to modern culture production. This article addresses the roles that economic and cultural trends have in the production of culture. From the present research, it seems as if the critical theory presented by Horkheimer and Adorno still provides an accurate prediction of the growth in the culture industry and its powers of mass deception.


Key Terms

Cultural Production, Cultural Consumption, Culture Industry, Mass Media, Capitalism


About the Author

Nelanhta Riley is a Psychology major with a minor in Sociology from New Orleans, LA. Upon graduating from Xavier in 2012, she hopes to earn a Ph.D. in a related field. Read more ...


About the Faculty Mentor

Dr. Christopher Faircloth, an Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology, has a research background in chronic illness, self-management of illness, sociology of the body, interpretive sociology, and qualitative research methods.


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