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Which clippings match 'Max Horkheimer' keyword pg.1 of 1
14 OCTOBER 2017

Media and Interpellation

"Many theorists have taken Althusser's notion of ideology and interpellation, shifted the focus away from the state, and applied it to various kinds of media texts. In this vein, cultural theorists such as Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno have argued that the homogeneity of mass media interpellate passive subjects who desire reoccurring tropes and predictable story lines which only serve to further stultify them (1979). 5 They are particularly sympathetic to those exploited in capitalist society, lamenting how 'capitalist production so confines them, body and soul, that they fall helpless victim to what is offered them.' (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1979:8). Yet the common people's acquiesce to the culture industry only perpetuates their conditions, and Adorno and Horkheimer proceed to argue, 'immovably, they insist on the very ideology which enslaves them. The misplaced love of the common people for the wrong which is done them is a greater force than the cunning of the authorities' (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1979:8). Like Althusser, Adorno and Horkheimer argue that the proletariat submit to ideologies that interpellate them as passive, and thus comply with their own domination. Similarly, David Gauntlett describes how 'interpellation occurs when a person connects with a media text: when we enjoy a magazine or TV show, for example, this uncritical consumption means that the text has interpellated us into a certain set of assumptions, and caused us to tacitly accept a particular approach to the world.' (Gauntlett, 2002: 27). Here, Gauntlett seems to echo Adorno and Horkheimer's argument that media consumers unquestioningly accept a medium's subject positioning of them as passive viewers."

(Cindy Nguyen, The Chicago School of Media Theory)



acquiesce • capitalist machinery • capitalist production • capitalist society • Chicago School of Media Theory • common people • cultural theorists • culture industry • David Gauntlett • domination • helpless victim • homogeneity of mass media • ideologiesideologyinterpellationLouis Althusser • manipulative media techniques • mass media homogeneity • mass media manipulation • Max Horkheimer • media consumers • media textpassive consumption • passive subjects • passive viewers • predictable story lines • proletariat • reoccurring tropes • stultify • subjugationTheodor Adorno • uncritical consumption • unquestioningly accept


Simon Perkins
20 APRIL 2005

Reflexive Modernisation: Beyond Modernism & Postmodernism

"The Postmodern project, in short, failed to provide the West with an adequate understanding of politics, society, and self in conditions that veered further and further away from the Enlightenment–based picture of modernity. The insights of Postmodern theorists lacked the power to put modernity in clear perspective and to re–energise its sources for the future. [...]Against this rough sketch of what critics have been thinking about modernity and its limits, the concept of 'reflexive modernisation' has made a promising appearance. The critical theory of reflexivity may productively address the work left undone by postmodernist theory. Postmodernism found the flaw in the idea of progress but failed to identify a usable alternative metaphor. In the alternative idea of reflexivity, we might discover some power to regenerate Western understanding. Through that we might renew political and social action. [...Scott Lash] begins with the premise of the Frankfurt School (notably Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment) that early modernity, through its reliance on reason, achieved its emancipatory project against tradition only to turn upon itself. (112) He sees a three–stage line of development from (a) tradition to (b) simple modernity to (c) reflexive modernity. (113) The driving force was individualisation in the transition from tradition to simple or early modernity; but industrial and governmental structures arrested the development. These structures included class, nation, nuclear family, and 'unconditional belief in the validity of science.' (115) 'Full modernisation [i.e., reflexive modernity] takes place only when further individualisation also sets agency free from even these (simply) modern social structures.' (114)"
(Richard P. Richter, President Emeritus, Ursinus College, Philadelphia, USA)

[Three key proponents of Reflexive Modernisation are Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens and Scott Lash. While Beck is most concerned with the enquiry to politics, Giddens is concerned with social process and Lash is concerned with the development of a critical theory.]



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