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Download Capitalizing on Culture: Critical Theory for Cultural by Shane Gunster PDF

By Shane Gunster

Building at the paintings of Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Capitalizing on tradition provides an leading edge, obtainable, and well timed exploration of serious idea in a cultural panorama ruled via capital. regardless of the expanding incidence of commodification as a dominant think about the construction, merchandising, and intake of such a lot sorts of mass tradition, many within the cultural reports box have did not interact systematically both with tradition as commodity or with severe concept. Shane Gunster corrects that oversight, offering attentive readings of Adorno and Benjamin's paintings with the intention to generate a posh, non-reductive idea of human event that attends to the possibilities and risks bobbing up from the confluence of tradition and economics.

Gunster juxtaposes Benjamin's concepts on reminiscence, event, and capitalism with Adorno's critique of mass tradition and sleek aesthetics to light up the major place that the commodity shape performs in every one thinker's paintings and to invigorate the dialectical complexity their writings gather while thought of jointly. This mixing of views is thus used to floor a theoretical interrogation of the comparative failure of cultural stories to have interaction substantively with the impact of commodification upon cultural practices. for this reason, Capitalizing on tradition bargains a clean exam of serious conception that would be priceless to students learning the intersection of tradition and capitalism.

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Extra resources for Capitalizing on Culture: Critical Theory for Cultural Studies (Cultural Spaces)

Sample text

4 Popular songs all share a common underlying musical structure; each is written according to the same formulaic pattern to ensure that it fits smoothly into pre-existing listening habits. On the other hand, marketability demands that this repetition be hidden beneath the illusion of individuality, difference, and novelty. The dialectic between new and Mass Culture and the Commodity Form 25 old is a constant feature of all forms of culture; however, the culture industry sets in motion a promotional logic that enforces a premature resolution of this tension.

Obviously, this question is very important. But it is often discussed with only marginal attention paid to how Adorno actually theorizes the effect of the commodity form on culture - the cornerstone of his analysis of the culture industry. In this chapter, I hope to change all this. Whatever value Adorno's work may hold, it certainly does not provide a measured, precise, and balanced account of contemporary cultural practices. And condemning him on this basis is neither fair nor a particularly interesting exercise.

This is an important first step in freeing the culture industry thesis from its (now) stifling association with the historical specificity of Fordist cultural production. In other words, this approach reveals that Adorno's primary concern is not a centralized form of bureaucratic cultural production, but rather the effect of commodification per se on culture. This lays the foundations for exploring the homologies between cultural objects and the forms of experience they produce: the relation between detail and whole in mass culture both generates and reflects an equivalent relation between specific events and episodes as they are integrated into the broader experiential and mnemic patterns of an individual's life history.

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