Today, we can buy a book from a vending machine, like soft drinks and snacks. Germinal and an Ice-Tea have the same value. Culture, in a wider sense, has been taken over by the spectacular-merchandizing-society, for which everything, from a book to an iPod, has a trade value. The recent evolution of capitalism has changed our perception of the world. The society of consumption has reified our relationship to the world; we perceive the world as a market and we thing-ificate our social relations. Culture has been absorbed too by the spectacularization of every value that was outside the market. The proletarian culture has been replaced by mass culture subjected to the market.
For these reasons, it is interesting to question the contemporary significance of culture, particularly in our capitalist societies, in the era of mass consumption. Is culture different from other mass market products and what can we do to find our primeval relation to culture?
[...] the functional For a better understanding, we will say that culture is our social and historical means to apprehend and act in the world. As we will see later, culture is an action and not passive behavior. We can see culture as a class product, by and for the dominant class. The proletarian culture has been developed against the bourgeois culture, as a way to educate the people and to give them the tools to fight the bourgeoisie. But this concept has been taken over by the Stalinism with the Proletkult. [...]
[...] Nonetheless we have to put it in its context: the evolution of capitalism and the development of the service industry has made, learning basic skills necessary. The recent debates on education in France with the Fillon act in 2003 had shown that the government wanted to adapt education to employers' needs. Same thing happens with the selection that one has to make at the entrance of the French Universities the students have to choose a “profitable” path. To understand how this “democratization” of culture became an economization of values, we first have to analyze how capitalist societies have reified the world. [...]
[...] He did not want to be subjected to the bourgeois culture, he wanted to create a self- organized, proletarian culture people alone can and must collect the elements of its instruction”). This new form of culture, (besides the dominant one), was a way to create a culture without economic purposes. Pelloutier, talking about the Labor Council, said: société bourgeoise salarie le prolétaire suivant une courbe qui traduit, selon le temps et les circonstances, les besoins de subsistances et de reproduction. [...]
[...] Also transformation of human beings into things like beings which do not behave in a human way but according to the laws of the thing‑world. Reification is a ‘special' case of ALIENATION, its most radical and widespread form characteristic of modern capitalist society”. For Lukács, reification is best for capitalist societies, because we treat our relationships with other people like relations with objects. Culture is also reified, in the sense that we do not take culture for what it is anymore, a way to understand our relation to the world, but a good that can be traded. [...]
[...] Every attempt to create culture within the coordinates of capitalism is dedicated to failure, because the market will use it and transform it into good. Every attempt to create culture is a revolutionary act. Every revolutionary act is an act of culture. Because the next revolution will be cultural. Bibliography Axel Honneth, La réification: Petit traité de Théorie critique, Gallimard Cornelus Castoriadis, La montée de l'insignifiance, Points Alain Finkielkraut, La défaite de la pensée, Gallimard Guy Debord - 2006 Courant Alternatif/Offensive, Hors série Révolutionnaire Aujourd'hui Offensive, février 06, Culture de classe ou (in)culture de masse Cornelus Castoriadis, La culture dans une société démocratique, in La montée de l'insignifiance, Points During a famous interview, Patrick Le Lay, CEO of TF1 said : Il y a beaucoup de façons de parler de la télévision. [...]
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