UMBERTO ECO AND "SOCIAL LIFE AS A SIGN-SYSTEM"
The rallying point between Adorno, Brecht and Benjamin was the question of whether culture verified the experience of the individual--or eclipsed it. That is why, to Lukacs' amazement that anyone could like dissonance, Adorno was able to respond that in dissonance, there is naming. In naming, there is release, aggression, pleasure.
Structuralism changes this question around somewhat to read, "Is it natural or is it man-made?" In the age of mechanical reproduction, ideology, on condition that it can get it to say what it wants it to say, has an ally in the image. The sight of a man and a woman water-skiing on television throbs with reality. The emotions--health, euphoria--are so close, ours cannot help but vibrate in sympathy with them. One of the ways to make sure that they do not is through a study of structure. Structure vaccinates against emotion. As Brecht understood so well, the person who stops and asks himself, "Wait--how was this made?" is interrupting his visceral response to it.
The writings discussed ahead hone the formalism of