Financialization and the Culture Industry – A Special Issue of Representations

C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye and Kent Puckett | English, UC Berkeley

The essays that make up this special issue of Representations turn on the relation between those two terms. How, they ask, should we understand the formal and cultural effects of a world economy ever more dependent on finance’s increasingly abstract calculations of value? In one respect, the metaphor of a “culture industry” might now appear anachronistic, swept aside by the postindustrial speed, scale, and global reach of contemporary finance. But what then remains of notions—inherited from the Frankfurt School and elsewhere—of high and low culture, art and reification, commitment and commodity, class struggle and rationalization in an economy now conceived as immaterial or disembodied, frictionless or flat?