Manufacturing consent : the role of the culture industry and the national press in the miners' strikes 1972-74 and 1984-85.
This thesis assesses the utility of the Frankfurt School's theory of `culture
industry' as an analytical model for a better understanding of the function and orientation
of the modem mass circulating press media in Britain.
The theory of `culture industry' implicated in authoritarian irrationalism, can
illuminate contemporary developments in culture, polity and society. This claim is not a
mere justification for `Adornoism', but an attempt to identify core themes in the School's
cultural analyses which continue to merit attention. The theory of `culture industry' poses
questions against a conventional political-economic approach to culture. Consequently it is
not the question of economic determinism which matters but rather the `commodification
of cultural outputs'.
In this re-assessment it will be argued that despite numerous critical appraisals the
`culture industry' thesis remains a valuable analytical tool in a sociological exploration of
the function of modem press industry. This thesis will examine these critiques of the
theory and will offer proposals to defend its conceptual capabilities. Accordingly, it will
be argued that late capitalist culture has acquired a certain degree of autonomy as well as
becoming increasingly crucial to the survival of the whole world system.
In an attempt to justify the relevance of the theory, proposals will be offered to
enhance the scope of its paradigm to accommodate modern societies such as Britain. It
will be argued, and empirically systematized, that as the original theory of culture industry
enabled Adorno to derive certain analytical concepts in the earlier part of this century, it
may be utilized to derive new conceptual tools with the help of which modern and
complex politico-cultural phenomenon, such as Thatcherism, can be analysed. The
empirical dimension of this thesis, therefore, attempts to utilize concepts generated by the
theory of `culture industry' and assess the impact of media upon the recent developments
in British popular culture