Second Paper Assignment on Media and Culture Industries

For this second essay, you will compare the one of the essay we covered in the “second third” of the class with the political-economy argument posed by Herbert Schiller.


Writing in the 1980s, Herbert Schiller observes the increasing control of culture by a decreasing number of corporations that prioritize profit over the artistic or cultural value of a work. Does this argument update and reinforce the “mass culture” argument made by Adorno and Horkheimer nearly fifty years earlier?

Discuss how the author of the one of the following essays extends Schiller’s argument about media and culture industries at the turn of the twenty-first century?

  1. Michael Curtin, “On Edge: Culture Industries in the Neo-Network Era.”
  2. Tom McCourt and Patrick Burkart, “When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of Online Music Distribution.”
  3. Tizania Terranova, “Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy.”
  4. Mark Andrejevic, “The Work of Being Watched: Interactive Media and the Exploitation of Self-Disclosure.”
  5. Lawrence Grossberg, “The Affective Sensibility of Fandom.”

Sample Outline

  1. Introduction, based on your own ideas. Write this last.
  2. Summarize Schiller’s argument, including relevant quotes.
  3. Answer the question: *Does this reinforce, update, and extend the “culture industry” argument”?
  4. Analyze one of the other authors listed above: The work of _____________________________ extends this argument by…
    1. _____________________________
    2. _____________________________
    3. _____________________________
  5. Conclusion, not a summary.

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