Esther’s Space- journey through my life

April 11, 2007

Horkheimer, Adorno, I’m no inchoate, I’m fully inculcated

Filed under: THEORY 330 — estherspace @ 7:10 am

The constant pressure to produce new effects (which must conform to the old pattern) serves merely as another rule to increase the power of the conventions when any single effect threatens to slip through the net.  Every detail is so firmly stamped with sameness that nothing can appear which is not marked at birth, or does not meet with approval at first sight.  (1227)


While Horkheimer and Adorno focus primarily on the entertainment industry, they do discuss the fact of art being destroyed by the same process as culture.  So, since my dinner date interrupted my perusal of this fascinating article, it gave me opportunity to ruminate upon some of the arguments they have made, including the requirement of sameness in the reproduction of culture.  So, we went to dinner.  The staging of the meal was exactly as it has always been, from drink order to dessert.  And, when the entree was presented, it looked like every plating of North American/European food that you’ve ever seen in a magazine; mixed vegetables nestled against a mound of mashed potatoes, with the protein (chicken in this case) leaning upon the potatoes at an angle.  The only new affect that was offered for the evening was a new entree option as the special, and the illusion of choice that Horkheimer and Adorno are concerned about.  However, despite this sameness of presentation and content, the restaurant is highly acclaimed, and furthermore, I was happy with what I was provided with.  I suppose I have been fully inculcated, because I was content with the illusion of choice and would likely demand the sameness again in the future.  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about this to satisfy Horkheimer and Adorno, but perhaps my awareness will be enough for the present.



  1. But was culture really destroyed, or did this blanket statement take on the power of religion? I feel as though they saw culture as this ingenious controlling mechanism in which ideals and beliefs of a few became translated as a social norm through economic status.

    Comment by hanaa — April 11, 2007 @ 7:49 am

  2. Reading your blog was totally awesome, I thought I was the only student that was actually genuinely interested in what I am learning, so glad to see another student as enthusiastic about critical social theory as me 😀

    Comment by Allen Yan — February 13, 2018 @ 12:36 am

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