culture industry

Culture Industry can be explained by the way to mass produce goods for a mass of similar demands. However the standards are just set in “manipulation and retroactive need”. They are not for consumers real demands. Standards are used to control of the economy also having power over society by means of technology as well. The crucial point is to be achievement of the technology and culture industries standardization and mass production. Moreover are created connection between art work and society. Technology is not creating this standardization and mass production. Technology has limitless developmental process. Therefore it can be increasing turns the consumer into a freedom less listener rather than the role of an active subject such as radio, telephone.

False Consciousness

The ruling class ideology dominate every area of culture, entertainment, TV, book, newspaper, game, fashion and also institutions  as family, religion, education and all patterns of everyday life. The ruling class dominates its ideology through mass media and propaganda in political affairs, news reporting, advertising, public relations. They disseminate ruling class ideas. They capture people’s consciousness and support the spread of false consciousness so people believe and adopt what mass media give them.

Global Vilage,Marshall McLuhan

  •  ‘As electrically contracted, the globe is no more than a village. Electric speed at bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibilty to an intense degree’
  • McLuhan claims that it is the speed of  electronic media which allow us some action and reaction  to global issues at the same rapid as face to face  communication. The rapidity of communication through electric media afecct our sense’s rapid. Through media such as the TV, telephone and the  computer as a part of ‘Internet’, we are rapidly linked together in the all over the world and connect with people at the other side of the world .We reach the people other side of the worl like as our neighbour.We can now hear and see events that take place other side of globe often quicker than we hear of events in our own villages or even families.

Frankfurt School & Coffee Houses

Frankfurt School :Frankfurt School has been set up by a group of Marxist intellectuals in Germany in 1923, which has been influential in the development of Marxist theory. Max Horkheimer, became Director of the Institute, and guided the Institute into its innovative exploration of cultural aspects of the development of capitalism. Theodor W. Adorno, worked on mass culture, which would become so influential from the 1960s on. Adorno & Horkheimer are against bold materialism, which absolutely separates subject and object from each other; they are also against the metaphysic, which defines subject & objects as identical. Mainly, their effort is to open a place to an individual in the social structure, where an individual exists, and to break social structure’s hegemony on individual.Individual has to exist in social structure. The vital hope of individual relies on to become an autonomous in the social structure, which consist of fallacies. An individual can succeed to protect his/her own essence with this autonomous and can force the social structure to be altered. They also critic enlightenment era which is also a critic of modernism; according to them the enlightenment separates individual and nature. Hegemony on the nature become hegemony on the individual, and it is resulted to create hegemony on the society. In that manner, modernism has also prepared the collapse of the humanity. All individuals are identical, listen to the same music, eat the same things etc. And it is possible with Culture Industry
Today’s culture is infecting everything with sameness; Film, Radio, Magazines make up a system which is uniform. All mass culture under monopoly is identical. Films & radio no longer present themselves as art; they are just business used as an ideology to legitimate the trash that is intentionally produced for masses. Today’s culture in societies establishes a set of discourse, stories, images, cultural forms that generate identities and political effects. Newspapers, television, movies, popular music, practices like shopping, watching sports event, going to club, local coffee shop are the practical artifacts of today’s culture. Jürgen Habermas who is also one of the Frankfurt School members worked contemporary society and culture. Habermas investigated the ways that a new public sphere emerged during Enlightenment and the American French revolutions how promoted political discussion & debate. Public Sphere of Habermas, described a space of institutions and practices between private & public interests. The public sphere mediated between domains of the family & the workplace (where private interests prevail) & the state which use power and domination. Habermas said that, newspapers were initially commercial sheets that deploy the news but then they are transformed in to tools of political debate under the pressure of American French Revolutions and organizations of political groups. Also newspapers fell prey to commercial imperatives and often put profit and business interest above political opinion. Society become more dominated by mass media, powerful corporations come to control major institutions, like radio, newspaper, television. The public sphere colonized by big media came to dominate public life

Coffeehouses’ in the History in terms of Cultural Stanpoint:  A coffeehouse or coffee shop is an establishment which primarily serves prepared coffee or other hot beverages. From a cultural standpoint, coffeehouses largely serve as centers of social interaction: the coffeehouse provides social members with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups of 2 or 3 people. Coffeehouses’ in Asia, Europe, and United States was different in the past including decoration, cultural flavors and tastes. For example the 17th Century French traveler Jean Chardin gave a lively description of the Persian coffeehouse scene:
‘People engage in conversation, for it is there that news are communicated and where those interested in politics criticize the government in all freedom and without being fearful, since the government does not heed what the people say. In addition, mollas, dervishes, and poets take turns telling stories in verse or in prose. The narrations by the mollas and the dervishes are moral lessons. A molla will stand up in the middle, and begin to preach in a loud voice, or a dervish enters all of a sudden, and chastises the assembled on the vanity of the world and its material goods. It often happens that two or three people talk at the same time, one on one side, the other on the opposite, and sometimes one will be a preacher and the other a storyteller.’
In london, the coffee houses were great social levelers, open to all men and indifferent to social status, and as a result associated with equality and republicanism. More generally, coffee houses became meeting places where business could be carried on, news exchanged.
Coffee shops in the United States arose from the espresso- and pastry-centered Italian coffeehouses of the Italian American immigrant communities in the major U.S. cities, From the late 1950s onward, coffeehouses also served as a venue for entertainment, most commonly folk performers during the American folk music revival.

Today’s coffeehouses, actually there is one major, and lots of copies of the main, are so identical due to globalization effect. Starbucks which is the very well known brand name of famous coffee house chains are now everywhere. The coffe houses owned by them is very recognizable based on the decoration, people who serve coffee and products that are sold in the shop.
Considering the number of coffee houses with Starbucks reached today, you  may not compare it with past. However this does not mean that today’s coffee houses share the same meaning of past’s coffee houses that were played a major role in the public. With the increasing number of those modern gathering places, supposedly thinking that people would have found a chance to change ideas, news, create public opinion considering the divercity of the society. Even though the new ones serve newspapers, magazines to be read, free Wi-Fi to be used and enough place to come together, people prefer not to talk each other, mingling and exchange the ideas each other. Instead they prefer to sit alone, have a cup of coffee silently.And it is the almost same all over the world.

It is a really good example how culture industry makes the culture uniform and creates mass products to continue his hegemony.


Souce: Wikipedia; Mass Deception by Adorno; Culture, Hegemony, Ideology by O’Shaughnessy

Medium as Message

Most of the time we are confronted with ads, tv commercials,etc. in daily life. We are, the consumers, in fact aware of what we do? Here is a selection of posters most of which are published online by non-governmental organizations or non-profit seeking communities such as Greenpeace. What do you think they try to mean to us?

M. McLuhan’s “Hot” and “Cool” Media Distinction

In McLuhan’s most popular book “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man “, he claims that “the medium is the message” and explains that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not by the content delivered over the medium, but by the characteristics of the medium itself.

He also proposes two frames for categorizing the media as “hot” and “cool” according to different sensory effects associated with the media.

Hot media are low in audience participation due to their high resolution or definition. Cool media are high in audience participation due to their low definition (the receiver must fill in the missing information).
In other words; hot media requires little information to be filled in by the receiver i.e. radio, film, lecture, print are full of information and allow less involvment or less sensory completion. However cool media such as seminar, telephone, television, which are relatively lacking in information and require a higher sensory involvement of the user and higher participation.




Marshall Mcluhan Full lecture: The medium is the message – 1977 in this video you can find McLuhans’ lecture about the subjects of media that i’ve mentioned above.

Deep Focus on “Global Village”

As we discussed, in today’s world,  message and medium changed and medium directly became a message. All movies, books and media channels have different roles but in common they serve for one reason then create our “global village”. No matter if you are Japanese or American, Arabic or Turkish, you all get in common with one point of medium. For example, I watch Bertolucci’s movie then another person in China watch this movie either. If we have a chance to meet together, we can have a discuss about the movie easily. So, in today’s world we do not have one medium and we can reach whereever we want.  The internet is the most important medium in 20th century in this sense.

According to the McLuhan, who is the inventer of the term “Global Village”, the man of this century is highly different from the past’s. Because of the options of reaching everywhere, men and the world’s improvement is changed naturally.

There are fundamental interviews which were conducted with McLuhan by CBS and another channels. I find them truely functional to understand the term in focus.

For watching the interview with McLuhan, please click here. 

This is a video which focuses on “The medium is the message”, please click here. 


On the other hand, Mad Men which is one of the important serials about advertisement and media institutions, has an episode about “The medium is the message”, for watching please click here.

Moreover, the internet we mentioned above, is the most important medium in today’s world, and becoming global village issue gets rises with the internet. But most governments try to avoid from this situation with cencorship. This is the video which focuses on this point. Please click here. 









Harold Innıs :‘Time&Space’ Model In Communication Media

For Harold Innis, the key to social change is found in the development of communication media. He claims that each medium embodies a bias in terms of the organization and the control of information. Any empire or society is generally concerned with the duration over time and the extension in space.
Time-biased media, such as stone and clay, are durable and heavy. Since they are difficult to move, they do not encourage territorial expansion; however, since they have a long life, they do encourage the extension of empire over time. Innis associated these media with the customary, the sacred, and the moral. Time-biased media facilitate the development of social hierarchies, as archetypally exemplified by ancient Egypt. For Innis, speech is a time-biased medium.
Space-biased media are light and portable; they can be transported over large distances. They are associated with secular and territorial societies; they facilitate the expansion of empire over space. Paper is such medium; it is readily transported, but has a relatively short lifespan.

Every culture created their own way of communication according to time or space biased. We can say that some ways of communication were durable in contrast some of them are transported. For example Egyptians used papyrus or paper which were the durable and heavy and their culture and institutions were formed according to these’ time-based ‘media.

Writing on clay and on stone has been preserved more effectively than that on papyrus. Since durable commodities emphasize time and continuity

We can give an example that Les Ottomans were utilized firmans to communicate and they were written something in these firmans that we can learn something about their way of life, empirement, culture etc.We can interfere that the time and space biased media help to us learn something about different cultures and their ‘world’.


According to Harold Innis, a medium of communication has an important influence on the dissemination of knowledge over space and over time. He divided media into time-binding and space binding type. Time binding media are durable and heavy. The include clay or stone tablets where space-binding media are light and consist of modern media such as radio, television and mass circulation newspapers.
Innis suggested this division in 1940s. If he would have made this distinction in this century, he certainly would have included e-books to the space binding media, considering the nature of them. Let’s look at the definition taken from Wikipedia ‘Electronic Book is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital. E-books are usually read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or e-book devices. Personal computers and some mobile phones can also be used to read e-books.
Comparing to e-books and conventional ones, we can say that, conventional ones look like tablets, clays in ancient times and electronic ones are light and modern, suits to space binding media. Right, you can reach any e-book via internet without considering time, place. You can read it, save it, store it and carry it with you in your small gadget. However, you can not touch it, smell it, and hold it as we do in our ‘normal’ books in the library. You can not save them for your grand children as well. Of course this is my view, but there are discussions around it. As an example; The New York Times asked the following question in their opinion page ‘Does the brain like E-Books’. Is there a difference in the way the brain takes in or absorbs information when it is presented electronically versus on paper? Does the reading experience change, from retention to comprehension, depending on the medium?
Below link reaches you thru the different opinions from different sciences…

Wag the Dog and Agenda-Setting

Agenda Setting shows us powerful effect of mass media. Mass media make an issue more salient and this issue became more important for audience. Media concentrates on a few issues and subjects leads the public to perceive those issues as more important than other issues .Media tells us what issues are important. Agenda-setting is the creation of public awareness. Media shape and  filter the reality. So media don’t reflect the reality.

  • “Attitudes and behavior are usually governed by cognitions – what a person knows,thinks, believes. Hence, the agenda-setting function of the mass media implies apotentially massive influence whose full dimensions and consequences have yet to be investigated and appreciated”

  • Before elections, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to “fabricate” a war in order to cover-up a presidential sex scandal.
  • Fake war  saliented by media for paying attention of audience and created public awareness about the war. Media shapes its reality.