`Ross Abbinnett brings a keen and subtle philosophical mind to bear on themes and debates that have become commonplace in sociology. This is a sinuously written book which casts new light on pressing contemporary issues. It is required reading for everyone who wants to think seriously and with an open mind about the terrain of the present' - Keith Tester, Professor of Sociology, University of Portsmouth This incisive and timely book provides a concise and reliable guide to the debate on modernity and postmodernity. In particular the work of Lyotard, Beck, Bauman, Baudrillard, Giddens, Jameson and Derrida is critically reviewed. Culture and Identity provides: a thorough and accessible discussion of the main themes in the modernity-postmodernity debate; a shrewd and penetrating account of how these themes address everyday life; a novel account of how technology is altering our perceptions of the `human'; and a balanced account of the hope for radical politics and radical critique to correct the excesses of capitalism. What emerges most forcefully from the book is the error of dismissing postmodernism as a self-indulgent and ultimately, dangerous piece of ideology. Abbinnett provides a pertinent reminder of the continuing importance of the themes and challenges raised in the `postmodern moment'.

Technology, Ideology and the Culture Industry

Technology, ideology and the culture industry


I want to begin this section by looking at Marx's notion of ideology as the imaginary resolution of real conflicts. Famously, Marx implicates the entire edifice of ‘bourgeois culture’ (art, literature, philosophy) in the production of a ‘false consciousness’ of the violence of capitalist relations of production. In the chapter which follows, I will examine the way in which three of Marx's twentieth-century inheritors, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Fredric Jameson, have developed his ideology thesis in relation to the media-technological transformation of capitalism. In particular, I will address the following:

  • Marx's original designation of ‘ruling ideas’ in The German Ideology;
  • Horkheimer and Adorno's account of the rationalization of social relationships, the technological reproduction of popular ...
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