Mediation of Lady Gaga
Global Culture Industry
CU71015A Theories of the Cultural Industry: Work, Creativity and Precariousness Alvina Azaria MA Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship Media and Communication Pathway 1/17/2011
Question: Do objects in the culture industry have a life of their own? Discuss the 'mediation of things' argument from Lash and Lury by following the life of a particular object. Test the method by evaluating it in relationship to other theoretical approaches to the object.
This essay unpacks the life of cultural objects based on Scott Lash and Celia Lury’s argument in the book of Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things. It draws on a set of case studies of a current phenomenon in music and culture, Lady Gaga, using the framework of The Global Culture Industry. Lady Gaga has only been in the spotlight since she first appeared on the television in 2008. Since then, she has been gaining her fans from all over the world. She is seen as a brand that has a global flow of movement. The theory is tested by being compared to other writers’ view on social objects, which includes Karin-Knorr Cetina (2002), Appandurai (1986), Deleuze (1994),
World Industry of Information
Culture industry was the term that first mentioned by Adorno and Horkheimer in Dialectic of Enlightment (1947), which has been the main reference to the critical theories. However, in the glorious era of ‘dot.com’ and social network such as blogs, twitter and facebook, the relevance of the theory is questioned by contemporary theorists. One of the critiques is elaborated in Lash and Lury’s Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things. The book is driven by the concern of the implementation of Adorno and Horkheimers’ Cultural Industries in the global media age. The main argument of the book is culture has taken on another different logic with the transition from culture industry, ‘that globalization has given culture industry a fundamentally different mode of operation’ (Lash & Lury, 2007: 3). The view of the objects is rather metaphysical than dialectic. Since the emergence of information industry and the global communication system, culture has been seen in different perspectives. The second half of 1990’s was marked with the 2
boost of globalization of the information economy and the rise of cyberspace. The academic studies were followed by business and management analysis with the emphasis on non tangible assets. In this ‘regime of signification’, signalling ‘not simply a shift to a new mode of producing and circulating signs (cultural commoditization), but an alteration in the very relation between culture and economy’ (Wernick, 1991 in Grainge, 2008). In the nature of capitalism, brands were one of the non tangible assets that have been gaining attention from the world. As Lash and Urry pointed, culture industry is a branded circulating intellectual property (Lash & Urry, Economies of Signs and Space, 1994). Moreover, the reproduction process is reassuring the sign value (Grainge, 2008). Lash and Lury argues that global culture industry of operates through brands. Anthropologically, culture is seen as ‘the signifying system through which necessarily (though among other means) a social order is communicated, reproduced, experienced, and explored’ (Williams, 1981: 13). Because culture is the main object of the study, signs and text are the analyzed rather than the objective process that is emphasized in ‘political economy’ (Du Gay, 1997; Hesmondaghl, 2007). There is also ‘culturalization of economic life,’ where
‘contemporary capitalism was marked by a degree of reflexive accumulation in economic life, that included a new degree of aesthetic reflexivity in the spheres of both production and consumption, as capitalist reflexivity in the spheres of both production and consumption, as capitalist production became increasingly design-intensive and oriented toward niche...