Mass society and mass culture

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mass society and mass culture

Literature and Mass Culture: Volume 1, Communication in Society by Leo Lowenthal

This first volume of the collected writings of sociologist Leo Lowenthal contains his classic theoretical and historical writings on the relationship of art to mass culture. This book series presents Lowenthals contributions to a theory of the role of communication in modern society.

This volume lays out the basis for a theory of mass culture. Lowenthal demonstrates that the juxtaposition of a lowmass culture and a highesoteric culture did not originate in contemporary industrial, bourgeois society but can be traced back to the Middle Ages and antiquity.
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Published 13.12.2018

Mass Culture - Primal - Ephemeral (full album)

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Leo Lowenthal

Mass society

Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more. The category of mass society appears in the early nineteenth century as a way to describe contemporary societies after industrialization: the demographic, economic, political, and cultural social transformations between the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution. Mass society went on to describe any society in which the masses occupy roles and spaces previously reserved to its ruling classes or social groups dependent on them. Mass culture began with the popular press in the late nineteenth century, and after World War I there were mass film and radio, literature, and popular music. The article describes a history of both categories and its relations, as well as the different perspectives from academia, from the early twentieth century to the present. The full text of this article hosted at iucr.

Mass Communication. Our description of the eras of mass communication theory begins with a review of some of the earliest thinking about media. These ideas were initially developed in the latter half of the nineteenth century, at a time when rapid development of large factories in urban areas was drawing more and more people from rural areas to cities. At the same time, ever more powerful printing presses allowed the creation of newspapers that could be sold at declining prices to rapidly growing populations of readers. Although some theorists were optimistic about the future that would be created by industrialization, urban expansion, and the rise of print media, many were extremely pessimistic Brantlinger, They blamed industrialization for disrupting peaceful, rural communities and forcing people to live in urban areas merely to serve as a convenient workforce in large factories, mines, or bureaucracies.

Mass society is any society of the modern era that possesses a mass culture and large-scale, impersonal, social institutions. In the work of early 19th century political theorists such as Alexis de Tocqueville , the term was used in discussions of elite concerns about a shift in the body politic of the Western world pronounced since the French Revolution. Such elite concerns centered in large part on the " tyranny of the majority ", or mob rule. In 20th century neo-Marxist accounts, such as those of the Frankfurt School , mass society was linked to a society of alienated individuals held together by a culture industry that served the interests of capitalism. Conservative accounts in the 20th century critiqued mass society from a different perspective.


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Mass society , concept used to characterize modern society as homogenized but also disaggregated, because it is composed of atomized individuals. The term is often used pejoratively to denote a modern condition in which traditional forms of human association have broken down and been replaced by conformist or even totalitarian forms of collective behaviour. The idea of mass society originated in the conservative reaction to the French Revolution — For critics such as Hippolyte Taine , the real significance of the Revolution lay not in the constitutional changes it brought about but in the deep social upheaval it caused. For these thinkers, the Revolution undermined traditional institutions such as the Roman Catholic Church and thus weakened the social bonds that held French society together.




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