This book covers the key concepts central to understanding recent developments in media and communications studies. Wide-ranging in scope and accessible in style it sets out a useful, clear map of the important theories, methods, and debates.

The entries critically explore the limits of a key concept as much as the traditions that define it. They include clear definitions, are introduced within the wider context of the field and each one is fully cross-referenced, is clearly illustrated with relevant examples, and provides a guide to further reading and an index.

This book is an essential resource for students in media and communications and for those studying sociology, cultural sociology, cultural studies, and sociology of media.

Culture Industry

Culture industry

Perhaps no concept has undergone greater transformation since it was coined than ‘culture industry’. Its dominant meaning has shifted dramatically in its normative orientation, from a resolutely critical one to a contemporary meaning that is normatively neutral, if not completely affirmative, when it is reworked as cultural industries and ‘creative industries’.

Culture Industry for the Frankfurt School and Raymond Williams

Theodor Adorno developed the concept of culture industry in the 1930s and 1940s in his famous debate with Walter Benjamin about the consequences of ‘technological reproducibility’ for works of art (below).

For Adorno, the very words ‘culture industry’ were meant to convey a ‘shock effect’ similar to that many modernist avant-gardes strived to achieve through their art, ...

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