Some Musings on Labor in “The Culture Industry”

Theodor Adorno's primary critiques in the selections brought together in Routledge's The Culture Industry focus on what can be termed generally mass culture (or, to use the term he coined along with Horkheimer, "the culture industry"), being those artifacts which are mass-produced, reproduced, distributed - both as the means and the end to advertise, promote and consume the products. The result is that what was once the province of cultural output such as artistic expression is reduced instead to artifacts and emblems of products and commodities; this then becomes the common cultural currency. Advertising stands in for art, and cultural objects are created expressly for consumption - by necessity, as a result of their mass-production - and to generate capital.