Culture as Power, Ideology and Hegemony Analytical Essay by write123

Culture as Power, Ideology and Hegemony
An analysis of the way in which the Frankfurt School viewed the sociology of culture and a discussion of Jurgen Habermas' "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society."
# 105780 | 3,274 words | 13 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Jul 17, 2008 in Sociology (Theory) , English (Analysis) , Sociology (General) , Philosophy (General)

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This paper reviews the key texts of the Frankfurt School on the sociology of culture. It also discusses Jurgen Habermas' writings on the subject, particularly in "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society." Finally, it discusses the works of French critical theorists such as Guy Debord, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari and examines the ways in which the Frankfurt School impacted their thought.

From the Paper:

"The French radical philosophers and sociologists built upon the foundation laid by the Frankfurt School in developing their own critique of culture. They extended the Frankfurt School theorists' attack on mass culture, liberal tolerance, and the decay of the public sphere to include such key areas a language, discourse, and the psyche. Thus, it can be said that the French theorists were much more interested in the ways in which culture played out on the semiotic or symbolic level. Debord's Society of the Spectacle articulated the fact that no true social interactions could take place, as all interactions are now mediated. Foucault introduced the notion of discourse as a tool for maintaining power-as-knowledge via specialization in the professional realm. In a similar vein, Bourdieu's analysis of language was meant to show us "our place" in the social sphere. He connected language with what he deemed "symbolic capital"; just as Foucault linked knowledge with currency, Bourdieu would assert that those in possession of "symbolic capital" were the same who possessed enough power to perform acts of "symbolic violence" against those with less symbolic capital. But the greatest destabilization would come from Deleuze and Guattari, who would reject the Freudian-Marxist axis upon which the Frankfurt School theory had developed altogether in favor of a whole new freedom that would be based on the libidinal flow of desire."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Adorno, Theodor and Max Horkheimer. "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception." From Dialectic of Enlightenment, 1944. Retrieved from
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991.
  • Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. Retrieved from
  • Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983.
  • Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. New York: Vintage, 1990.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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Culture as Power, Ideology and Hegemony (2008, July 17) Retrieved February 22, 2020, from

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