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Theodor Adorno

His real name is Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno. He is a German sociologist and a member of Frankfurt school. He is considered as a philosopher thinker with an emphasis on society. He was known for his important contributions in the development of Critical Theory in the Frankfurt School which started in 1945. His accomplishments are notably because of its contributions to Sociology. Starting in 1952, he is one of the people behind the group experiment conducted in the newly transformed Germany to a democratic society.

The experiment showed the residual attitude of the National Socialist. Then in 1954, he taught in Kranichstein. He had a lot of radio debates and lectures in different countries. He is also the person behind the published letters and writings of Walter Benjamin. He started the debate on positivism in 1961 during the German Sociological Association meeting. He was also chaired the “Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Soziologie” and he also the brain in the 15th Sociology Conference and 16th Sociology Conference in 1964 and 1968 respectively. His works are focused on art, literature, and music.

These three are considered as sublime critiques of the existing culture and the alarmed means of thought. His view on the industry of culture is it is like an arena wherein there is the elimination of the critical tendencies and/or potentialities. He added that the population was being manipulated by culture industry through mass media. Popular culture for Adorno is the reason of the passiveness of the people. Regardless of the economic status of people, there is a large consumption of popular culture because pleasures are easily taken from it.

Cultural goods are one and the same despite of its different appearance; this was best described in his terms like ‘pseudo-individualization’ and ‘always-the-same’. High arts are in danger because of the culture that is produced by the masses. Adorno also said that the real needs of people are freedom, creativity, and real happiness. But these real needs were countered by the culture industries which provide only the need of capitalism. Human Artifacts For him, this consists of labor materializations wherein there is incorporation of labor then realizing its intentions.

There are two aspects wherein Adorno considered the materialization of labor as a use value and the artifacts as a collective practical reason. In every exchange of value, the commodity is being subjected to utility and market conditions wherein the representation of importance is the materialization of labor. Essential Characteristics of the Culture Industry The important characteristic is repetition. He explained this through comparing popular and serious music. The former is characterized by standardization while the latter is characterized by a concrete totality.

By saying there is the standardization of music it means that it can not be changed whereas concrete totality does not entail change. Technology Technology determines the standardization of the cultural products same goes with the industrial products. Together with Horkheimer, Adorno said that technological terms can not give details on the identity of mass culture. The power of technology can best seen in the power that monopolies and large corporations has. Mass Media

It was said that isolation is one of the effects of the modern communications through media. This isolation talks about social and physical aspects. Through the efficient ways of communication, people are being kept with a lot of available communication materials. An example is the cellular phones which make people physically distant from others but they are together through the technology. Horkheimer and Adorno pointed out one similarity that communication brings. People are the same by being isolated all at the same time. Music

In the first article written by Adorno about popular music, his first thesis goes this way, “A clear judgment concerning the relation of serious music to popular music can be arrived at only by strict attention to the fundamental characteristic of popular music: standardization. ” It is known by Adorno as something that gives the substance of what they are thinking or the lack of it. It is equated to the distraction because it makes people not to pay attention to other things. Popular music can also be considered as functional because it can be an ideology. It provides people a means to adjust in fast-paced life.

That is the reason why the responses of the people to popular music can be classified into two. For one, there is the ‘rhythmically obedient’ and the other is ‘emotional’. It shows that people relate to music because of their present situation. They can feel the music through relating it to their personal lives. Some would get into the music because everyone is talking about it. Then and again, it is the ‘in thing’, everyone loves to hear the music so the tendency of other people would get into it as well. There is the fad in music like in any other components of popular culture.

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