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Cinema – Spectacle – Modernity
Cinema – Spectacle – Modernity
Johannes von Moltke
The Culture Industry

‘Every visit to the cinema leaves me, against all my vigilance, stupider and worse’. This sentence, which occurs halfway through the fifth aphorism of Theodor W. Adorno’s Minima Moralia (2005: 25), would appear to sum up a received notion about critical theory’s engagement with cinema, mass media, and spectacle. According to this line of thinking, spelled out most explicitly in the chapter on the ‘Culture Industry’ in Dialectic of Enlightenment, cinema degrades even the most critical subject. More radically and perniciously, the culture industry produces and reproduces the modern subject in the first place. Fusing a non-determinist Marxism with Freudian categories, critical theory lends significant weight ...

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