Comparing And Contrasting The Frankfurt School And The Birmingham School
This essay will attempt to comparing and contrasting the Frankfurt School and the Birmingham School, two key theories that helped unlock and unveil structural codes of media texts. Both schools, shaped by particular historical conditions, studied the processes of cultural production, the audience reception and use of cultural artefacts. Despite having different set(s?) of understanding about the strength and power of the audience, they also share some positions in their approach. Both the similarities …show more content…
Frankfurt School scholars identify a specific authority in the structure of capitalism that is inescapable. They conclude by saying that this belief is so deeply embedded in their consciousness that they are functioning out of it. It brings us back to the Marxist concept of “false consciousness” which shows the inability of the human mind to develop a sophisticated awareness of their true nature.
Moreover, the School was engaged in a critique of the progressive technical development. ‘Dialectic of Enlightenment’ is certainly the most significant notion to come out of their theory of the culture industry. This notion was written by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer during the Second World War. Adorno suggested that ‘enlightenment” turned into mass deception and that it obstructs the development of autonomous and independent individuals who can think consciously for themselves.
He wrote: “As soon as the film begins, it is quite clear how it will end, and who will be rewarded, punished, or forgotten. In light of music [popular music], once the trained ear has heard the first notes of the hit song, it can guess what is coming and feel flattered when it does come.” Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment - …show more content…
The Frankfurt School and its neo-Marxist sociologists pointed out the importance of the 'culture industries'. They investigated the cultural industries as a form of the integration of the working class into capitalist societies. Adorno saw culture as something which has imposed itself upon the masses, and makes them prepared to welcome it given they do not realize it is an imposition. Conformity has replaced consciousness.
In their left-wing theory, they determined how technology was both a major force of production and an influential form of control and power. Ruled by big corporations, the culture industries were organized according to the structures of mass production and thus it has made the technology of the culture industry no more than the achievement of the standardization and mass production, providing powerful instruments of social control and domination. As Marcuses say: “The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood….it becomes a way of