Main Article Content
This paper is an attempt to examine and to assess Adorno’s theory of the “culture industry” as it pertains to his underlying anthropology or account of human life. Ultimately, I believe this is of critical importance to any evaluation of Adorno’s relevance and helpfulness for contemporary Christian theological ethics. The expository concern of this essay, contained in Part I, is to summarize Adorno’s claims about the culture industry and to show its role within his project. Part II contains the twofold critical concern of this essay: 1) to describe the anthropological assumptions necessary for Adorno to assert that the culture industry can accomplish its vicious task and 2) to survey Adorno’s analysis of jazz as a representative example of how his anthropology distorts his ability to hear one of the “most characteristic forms of mass culture.” The concluding, constructive section, will present, as a counter-analysis, a theologically-informed “Jazz Anthropology” that both refutes Adorno’s reading of jazz and offers a better model for understanding key aspects of human life.My ultimate goal in this paper is to argue that, as we see in his analysis of jazz, the anthropological assumptions and commitments underlying Adorno’s sweeping theory of the culture industry cause him to mis-hear, misunderstand, and mis-diagnose critical aspects of the society he hopes to free.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).