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Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things

Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things

Scott Lash, Celia Lury

ISBN: 978-0-745-62482-2

Apr 2007, Polity

248 pages

In Stock



In the first half of the twentieth century, Theodor Adorno wrote about the 'culture industry'. For Adorno, culture too along with the products of factory labour was increasingly becoming a commodity. Now, in what they call the 'global culture industry', Scott Lash and Celia Lury argue that Adorno's worst nightmares have come true.

Their new book tells the compelling story of how material objects such as watches and sportswear have become powerful cultural symbols, and how the production of symbols, in the form of globally recognized brands, has now become a central goal of capitalism. Global Culture Industry provides an empirically and theoretically rich examination of the ways in which these objects - from Nike shoes to Toy Story, from global football to conceptual art - metamorphose and move across national borders.

This book is set to become a dialectic of enlightenment for the age of globalization. It will be essential reading for students and scholars across the social sciences.

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1. Introduction: Global Culture Industry.

2. Method: Ontology, Movement, Mapping.

3. The Biography of Euro 96: Branding the Event.

4. Art as Concept/Art as Media/Art as Life.

5. The Thingification of the Media: Animism and Animation.

6. The Mediation of Things: In Medias Res.

7. Flow: The Practices and Properties of Circulation.

8. Image, Markets and Display in Brazil.

9. Conclusion: Virtual Objects and the Social Imaginary.

“A fascinating set of accounts of the changing role and meaning of selected ‘cultural objects’.”

“Their empirical work is thorough and detailed, with each chapter providing a rich description of the history, life, and geography of the cultural object in question.”
British Journal of Sociology

“Scott Lash and Celia Lury reconceptualize our understanding of cultural industries in the context of globalization. By analysing and documenting the shift from representation to objects in contemporary production of meaning, they open new avenues for research on communication and culture: things materialize our imaginary, we communicate through objects. This pathbreaking study will stimulate the intellectual debate for years to come.”
Manuel Castells, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

“Scott Lash and Celia Lury throw down the gauntlet to liberal and Marxist economic and cultural theory. They discover meaning-making at the centre of both production and consumption. Totems rule the marketplace, and popular culture generates, displaces and energizes iconic brands. The circulation of economic value has become a conversation between symbolic things. Deeply researched and theoretically sophisticated, Global Culture Industry is an important book.”
Jeffrey Alexander, Yale University

“By tracing the lives of a series of cultural objects, Lash and Lury analyse with great insight how, in our age of globalization, culture comes to play an ever more central and intense role in economic production. In the process, they revise powerfully our traditional notions of the culture industry.”
Michael Hardt, co-author of Empire and Multitude

  • Compelling and startlingly original account of the global dominance of brands from two important figures in the field
  • Theoretically and empirically rich examination of the power of ‘stuff’
  • Preponderance of lively illustrative material from everyday life will help the book appeal to advanced undergraduates, as well as scholars
  • This book is set to become a classic text