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Course 905: Culture Industry: Value and Meaning

S.V. Srinivas

Culture Industries: Value and Meaning

(Offered by the CIDASIA Research Programme, CSCS. Intructors: S.V. Srinivas & Radhika P)

This course lays out some of the concerns of the CIDASIA Research Programme of CSCS. It begins with a discussion of the nature of the commodity and goes on to examine the implications of the commodification of culture. An interesting problem thrown up by culture as commodity is the gap that opens up between value and something else that is either generated or lost when culture becomes an object of exchange. This has been variously named as authoritarian politics, the aura of the object of art and national/civilizational values associated with cultural practices. The course asks whether culture acquires political useful at the moment of its commodification. Writings that elaborate on culture’s relationship with politics are then examined in light of the formulation. The discussion then arrives at contemporary India, where mass production of culture is accompanied by its low levels of industrialization and complex linkages with illegality and mass politics. What do we make of culture in its condition of low economic worth and excessive presence? What work expected of culture industries today by policy makers? How do culture industries reshape our understanding of rights and democratic politics?

Session I: Commodity

Karl Marx Capital Vol 1. Chapter 1-3: 'The Commodity', 'The Process of Exchange', and 'Money, or the Circulation of Commodities'; ‘The Value-Form’ (Appendix to the first German Edition of Capital, Vol. 1, 1867).
Link found here

Session II: Culture as Commodity: Mass Culture

Horkheimer and Adorno, 'The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception' pp 120-167, Dialectic of Enlightenment.Link found here

T. Adorno, 'Culture Industry Reconsidered'. Link found here

Session III: Aesthetics and Politics

T. Adorno, 'Anti-Semitism and Fascist Propaganda', pp 218-231, from The Stars Down to Earth. Link Found here

T. Adorno, 'Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda', pp 114-135 Link found here

Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, pp 219-253, from Illuminations. Link found here

T. Adorno, on Benjamin's essay, Letter to Benjamin, Aesthetics and Politics. pp 120-126.Link found here

Thomas Blom Hansen, Politics as Permanent Performance: The Production of Political Authority in the Locality, in The politics of cultural mobilization in India, pp. 19-36.Link found here

Session IV: National Culture

National Culture: Gandhi, Hind Swaraj Link found here

Tagore, Rabindranath: Nationalism in Japan;Nationalisnm in the West;Nationalism in India.Link found here

Session V: National Culture

Gramsci on the National Popular. Link found here

Fanon On National Culture. From Wretched of the Earth.Link found here

Gramsci on State and Civil Society. Link found here

Gramsci on Hegemony Link found here

(For student assignments: Richard Ohmann, Selling Culture)

Session VI: Culture as Politics

E. Laclau and C. Moufffe, Hegemony and Socialist strategy.

Session VII: Cultural Economy

Ashish Rajadhyaksha, 'The Phalke Era: Contradictions of Traditional form and Modern Technology', Tejaswini Niranjana et. al. (eds), Interrogating Modernity: Culture and Colonialism in India, pp. 47-82.Link found here

Ashish Rajadhyaksha, “‘Bollywood’ 2004: the globalized freak show of what used to be cinema.” From Indian Cinema in the Time of Celluloid.Link found here

Films: Don (1978) and Don (2006)

Session VIII: Meaning

Pinney: What Pictures want now: Rural Consumers of Images & The Recursive Archive from Photos of the Gods.Link found here

Kajri Jain -Introduction- Calendar Art as an object of Knowledge-Link found here

Kajri Jain-The Sacred in the Age of the Art and Mechanical Reproduction-Link found here

Session IX and X

Cultural Rights

UNESCO, Convention on Cultural Diversity

[Other readings to be added]

Session XI: Culture to the rescue

UNCTAD, Creative Economy Report

Sethi, Rajeev. “Making, Doing, Being: A Time for Joined-up Thinking.” Positioning the Big Idea-India, New Delhi: Asian Heritage Foundation, 2006.

Thomas Aageson, “Cultural Entrepreneurs: producing cultural value and wealth”, Chapter 6, Cultural Economy.

Session XII: Political Society

Partha Chatterjee, Selections from Politics of the Governed & “Democracy and Economic Transformation.”

 Sessions XIII and XIV: Student Presentations

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