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Data Browser 01: Economising Culture – On 'The (Digital) Culture Industry'
The interaction between culture and economy was famously explored by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer by the term 'Kulturindustrie' (The Culture Industry) to describe the production of mass culture and power relations between capitalist producers and mass consumers. Their account is a bleak one, but one that appears to hold continuing relevance, despite being written in 1944. Today, the pervasiveness of network technologies has contributed to the further erosion of the rigid boundaries between high art, mass culture and the economy, resulting in new kinds of cultural production charged with contradictions. On the one hand, the culture industry appears to allow for resistant strategies using digital technologies, but on the other it operates in the service of capital in ever more complex ways. This publication, the fi rst in the DATA browser series, uses the concept of the culture industry as a point of departure, and tests its currency under new conditions.