Lecture 6 - �Mass Society� and the Death of the Individual

Lecture 6 - �Mass Society� and the Death of the Individual

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“Mass Society” and the Death of the Individual Frankfurt School Turning narrative of progress on its head-lead to a downward spiral: crisis of mass society. I) Introduction: What is Mass Society? Condition in which everyone and everything had become so standardized and uniform that differences had been erased. Mass society was the death of the individual. *Reader: Auden's “Unknown Citizen” (Reader, p.165)-written in 1939. Notion of the uniform modern man-same as everyone else. The vision of uniformity was the nightmare of the mass man. Western civilization had been reduced to this lowest common denominator of mass society. II) The Roots of Mass Society-origins lay precisely in the triumphs of western civilization. Direct product of industrialization, capitalization. Proofs of progress: seen as something that's not progress at all. Contributed to a larger crisis of meaning: everyone had lost faith in the fundamental principles of society. Critics said that these principles has led us into decline. A) Democratization-begins with FR: claim that each individual is free. Level playing field. Early 20 th century: process is formally implemented: universal suffrage, citizenship to all adults. Conservatives saw a problem with this progress: still tied to a hierarchical vision of society. 1) Alexis de Toqueville and the “tyranny of the majority”-saw a decadent egalitarianism: mediocrity overtook talent and virtue. Summarized doubts between liberalism and democracy. Defined fear that a culture of the masses would stifle individual creativity and autonomy. 1920s and 30s dem. Polities began to spread. Democracy caused the loss of rational discourse. Egalitarianism undermined rational,
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Lecture 6 - �Mass Society� and the Death of the Individual

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