The concept was developed by Adorno using the example of the film industry.

Interviewee: Roger Behrens

My political socialisation took place in the 1980s and after finishing school I began reading Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944). The section on the “culture industry”, pivotal in this book by Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, was basically a gateway to Critical Theory. Adorno and Horkheimer explicated the critique of the culture industry on the example of cinema and the productions of large Hollywood film studios: during the early 1940s they were right there ‘in the field’, living in exile in California. At the beginning of the 1930s Ilya Ehrenburg calls Hollywood a “dream factory”. That’s actually a caricature. Detlev Claussen interprets the concept of the culture industry in a similar manner: he says that culture industry is meant ironically. Whatever the case, it is certain that the concept of the culture industry entails not taking it all too seriously.

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