ERIC Number: ED237978
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Herbert Marcuse's Critical Theory of the Media.
Daley, Patrick J.
As a member of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, Herbert Marcuse believed that industrial capitalism and the bureaucratization of society stripped humans of any claims to autonomy and undermined their critical expression with a functional language. However, Marcuse did no more than point an inchoate ideological finger at the production side of the media and, therefore, was unable to join theory with practice. His emphasis was on the separation of the private and public spheres, with a reasoning public mediating the two through the use of critical, rational concepts. Needs were to be generated from the enclaves of privatized reason, whose satisfaction was made to be seen as serving the interests of all. The unanswered question was what were true and false needs. Failing to translate his concepts into practice, he turned to the "lumpenproletariat," an inchoate and unlocalized "class" as agents of change. However, his lack of theory vitiated any attempts to show the role that humans would play in accomplishing and then maintaining their emancipation. He further maintained that the only way to get a "fresh look" at facts heretofore mediated by the dominant interests was by undemocratic means, including a restraint on freedom of expression. Later he moderated this stance to one of discriminating intolerance. Unlike Marcuse, mass media researchers need to make clear what counts for them as ideological. Such research endeavors would entail carefully constructed problems informed by interpretative sociologies, along with solid empirical data on the economics of the mass media. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Critical Theory; Marcuse (Herbert); Theory Practice Relationship
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (69th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).