Academic journal article Review of Contemporary Philosophy

Hegemony, Mass Media, and Cultural Studies: Properties of Meaning, Power, and Value in Cultural Production

Academic journal article Review of Contemporary Philosophy

Hegemony, Mass Media, and Cultural Studies: Properties of Meaning, Power, and Value in Cultural Production

Article excerpt

Hegemony, Mass Media, and Cultural Studies: Properties of Meaning, Power, and Value in Cultural Production Sean Johnson Andrews (Columbia College Chicago) Rowman & Littlefield: London and New York, 2016, 238 pp. ISBN 978-1-78348-556-7

Johnson Andrews focuses on the function of the media in democratic interaction and culture, the upswing of mass-produced commodity culture in media and communications, and the culture industry's responsibility as the ground of shared consciousness and significant interplay. The onset of participatory social media and other kinds of collective collaboration have generated inquiries regarding the prevalent mode of production, especially in an epoch evidently monopolized by postindustrial information and cultural labor. The capacity of consumers to produce, distribute, rehash, and reshare media has allegedly equalized the pecking order of cultural production - the most relevant determinant of media ascendancy in the monopoly capitalist stage. Long-established mass-mediated subjectivities have simply been substituted by commodities that are only ostensibly typified. As exemplified by the increasing stock prices of cloud computing and social media companies, such novel subjectivities and their shared production of culture and beliefs have produced value for a cutting-edge series of economic elites. While the gathering of licensed culture by the content industry is actually the result generated by their exclusive control over the means of cultural interaction, Silicon Valley aims to provide the content without charge in return for access to individuals' most private dealings. Their domination is conjointly established by a state choosing to privilege their privately-operated apparatuses in return for their intricate processes of inherent social control. Digital media unfolds the likelihood of newfangled types of democratic interaction and delineates the oft-hidden mechanism of the social creation of value. Labor is disconnected from spare time, giving rise to a boundless innovative market for cultural commodities, and subsequently retreated into the mechanism of the latter's valorization. Insecure cultural workers such as freelancers and adjuncts are the current features of the labor tendency at a moment where the mechanism of valorizing cultural goods is something individuals are likely to do free of charge, as before culture was entirely commodified in the postmodern epoch. …

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