Shane Gunster's Capitalizing on Culture: Critical Theory for Cultural PDF

Cultural Studies

By Shane Gunster

Building at the paintings of Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Capitalizing on tradition provides an leading edge, available, and well timed exploration of serious concept in a cultural panorama ruled via capital. regardless of the expanding occurrence of commodification as a dominant think about the creation, promoting, and intake of so much different types of mass tradition, many within the cultural reports box have didn't interact systematically both with tradition as commodity or with serious thought. Shane Gunster corrects that oversight, supplying attentive readings of Adorno and Benjamin's paintings so as to generate a posh, non-reductive conception of human adventure that attends to the possibilities and hazards 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 smooth aesthetics to light up the main place that the commodity shape performs in every one thinker's paintings and to invigorate the dialectical complexity their writings collect while thought of jointly. This mixing of views is in this case used to floor a theoretical interrogation of the comparative failure of cultural reports to interact substantively with the influence of commodification upon cultural practices. hence, Capitalizing on tradition bargains a clean exam of serious conception that might be important to students learning the intersection of tradition and capitalism.

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

Sample text

6 Kendall reiterates Horkheimer and Adorno almost exactly: the culture industry 'rejects anything untried as a risk. '7 The description 'pseudo-individuation' has often been attacked as signifying an elitist disposition because it seemingly requires the superior judgment of a critic to distinguish between 'true' and 'false' difference. However, Adorno proposes this term less as a strategy of cultural critique and more as a means of defining the structural pressures that commodification imposes on all forms of cultural production.

Of the network executives who ultimately control which programs are financed and aired, he observes: 'The only thing they know that works is something that has worked. '6 Kendall reiterates Horkheimer and Adorno almost exactly: the culture industry 'rejects anything untried as a risk. '7 The description 'pseudo-individuation' has often been attacked as signifying an elitist disposition because it seemingly requires the superior judgment of a critic to distinguish between 'true' and 'false' difference.

Yet Benjamin also delivers a profound sense of the immense social potential set 22 Capitalizing on Culture in motion by the fusion of culture and commodity insofar as it opens up entirely new types of experience, memory, and subjectivity. Like Marx, he looks directly into the heart of capital to find the means to overcome it. A world in which the commodity form grows ever stronger calls for an acute sensitivity to both the possibilities and the limitations it brings to cultural life. It is my hope that reading Adorno and Benjamin together offers us the opportunity to develop such a sensitivity by thinking through some of the most important questions in contemporary cultural theory.

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