Commodification and popular culture

(Originally written December 2013)

In order to fully understand the extent to which popular culture today is commodified in comparison to previous eras it is essential to recognise the various developments of capital not as distinct phenomena, but as part of a continual process of accumulation, expansion and consequent abstraction. It is crucial to note, as David Harvey writes, that:

Capital is a process and not a thing. It is a process of reproduction of social life through commodity production, in which all of us in the advanced capitalist world are heavily implicated. Its internalised rules of operation are such as to ensure that it is a dynamic and revolutionary mode of social organization, restlessly and ceaselessly transforming the society within which it is embedded. The process masks and fetishizes, achieves growth through creative destruction, creates new wants and needs, exploits the capacity for human labour and desire, transforms spaces, and speeds up the pace of life.[1]

As capitalism assimilates into itself all aspects of life and society, so too does it transform popular culture, and by extension the production, reception and function of art. An accurate account of the degree to which this has occurred in contemporary popular culture, particularly with regards to its commodification, hinges upon an analysis that takes this into account.

When comparing popular culture in the mid-twentieth century to that of today it would be tempting to deduce that the fragmented, abstracted nature of contemporary culture is evidence of the diminished ideological power of capitalist hegemony, especially in comparison to the seemingly monolithic, homogenous apparatuses of bygone eras of which the likes of Adorno and Debord speak. However, a conclusion of this kind would belie the form that capitalism (and by extension the commodification of contemporary culture) takes today.

To avoid this misreading it is essential to take into account the processes of abstraction and alienation inherent to the continual expansion of capital, for it is an acknowledgement of this that enables us to grasp the true extent to which popular culture is commodified today. Similarly, it is also important to note the importance of commodification to the flexibility of capitalism in assimilating into itself anything hitherto antagonistic or extraneous to it. Both of these points express the importance of recognising the difference between popular culture becoming less commodified, and it being so totally commodified that, in its very totality, it is difficult to deem it so due to the alienation and obfuscation inherent to this commodification process. Thus, somewhat paradoxically, the more commodified popular culture is, the less apparent its commodification, due to the various mechanisms key to its sustainability. Here we will explore the notion that in reaching a near-totality, the obfuscation of the ideological framework that sustains the commodification of popular culture no longer has any need to conceal itself, as it essentially has nothing to conceal itself from. It is also from this that any misconception of art and popular culture being less commodified today can be identified and dispelled.

Key to developing an accurate examination of the extent to which popular culture is commodified is gaining an understanding of commodification itself as a concept, and specifically the resultant alienation and abstraction inherent to such a process. The difficulty in establishing this can be seen in the increasing obfuscation that is necessitated by the growth of commodification. This is plainly apparent in the process of reification, with its abstraction of social relations, and by extension of popular culture as a whole. As Luckacs states in History and Class Consciousness, reification and ‘the universality of the commodity form’[2] has at its root ‘the abstraction of the human labour incorporated in commodities.’[3] This feeds directly into commodification leading to abstraction and obfuscation, because the very notion of the commodity is based on a distinct alienation between labour and the resultant commodities produced:

The process of labour is progressively broken down into abstract, rational, specialised operations so that the worker loses contact with the finished product and his work is reduced to the mechanical repetition of a specialised set of actions.[4]

Connected to this, in a parallel to the consequences of commodification and the division of labour as described by Lukacs above, is the difficulty of individuals in establishing the whole to which they belong, and by extension the role that commodification plays in this obfuscated totality. As Timothy Bewes writes:

This double movement of abstraction and crystallization is one that is inherent in all representation – all art and all politics – and it suggests the loss of an original whole or integrity.[5]

The overwhelming effect of reification and commodification, then, is one of division, fragmentation and alienation; thus as this alienation instigated by the commodity form increases, so too does the individual subject’s inability to even comprehend the totality of commodification in society:

As we become alienated from a sense of control over goods, the commodity instead seems to have become a supernatural force greater than humans. Commodities appear weird, ghostly, and monstrous to us because we sense the presence of the social energy (value) within the commodity, but do not recognize this power as objectified human labour. Our disconnection from the human source of value in the commodity makes it seem uncannily alien.[6]

This abstraction of social relations and fragmentation of perception has consequences that permeate throughout popular culture. To take music as an example, as Jacques Attali does, we can observe the development of capitalism (including the processes of reification and commodification) through the way it manifests in popular culture:

Fetishized as a commodity, music is illustrative of the evolution of our entire society: deritualize a social form, repress an activity of the body, specialize its practice, sell it as a spectacle, generalize its consumption, then see to it that it is stockpiled until it loses its meaning.[7]

This is a succinct summation of the way in which popular culture itself – as both arbiter and artefact of capitalist production – has been reified and commodified. Moreover, Attali here points towards the key to accurately recognising the extent of the commodification of contemporary popular culture: ‘evolution’[8]. This abstraction inherent to the commodity is an ever-growing process, and there is a direct link between the reification of all social relations, the alienation contained therein, and the resultant loss of meaning that serves to obfuscate this very commodification in popular culture. As such, this continual process of commodification and abstraction is roughly analogous – and no doubt derives from – the transition from a Fordist economy to what David Harvey calls ‘flexible accumulation,’[9] which is ‘marked by a direct confrontation with the rigidities of Fordism.’[10] The difference between these two forms of capitalist production also marks an apparent transition from a hegemonic framework defined by its ‘rigidity’[11] to one of ‘flexibility with respect to labour processes, labour markets, products and patterns of consumption.’[12]

Harvey links this unequivocally with postmodernism, and as such the effect that this new form of capitalism has on the increasing commodification of popular culture permitted therein is plain to see:

The relatively stable aesthetic of Fordist modernism has given way to all the ferment, instability and fleeting qualities of a postmodernist aesthetic that celebrates difference, ephemerality, spectacle, fashion, and the commodification of cultural forms.[13]

This notion is also highlighted by Jameson, who attests that, in terms of both the aesthetic and the economic (which converge in cultural production), the modern inevitably develops into the postmodern, with the process forged by further reification and abstraction, and generating the increasing commodification implicit therein:

With the intensification of the forces of reification, and their suffusion through ever greater zones of social life (including individual subjectivity), it is as though the force that generated the first realism now turns against it and devours it in its turn. The ideological and social preconditions of realism – its naïve belief in a stable social reality, for example – are now themselves unmasked demystified and discredited; and modernist forms – generated by the very same pressure of reification – take their place. And in this narrative, the supersession of modernism by the postmodern is predictably enough read in the same way as a further intensification of the forces of reification.[14]

This seemingly increasing totality of commodified, reified, abstracted social relations, born out of the very nature of capital and echoed in popular culture, can be framed in the theory of the spectacle, which is, as Guy Debord states in Society of the Spectacle, ‘capital to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image.’[15] The suggestion here is that the ‘concrete manufacture of alienation’[16] within the spectacle has the potential to sustain commodification to such a degree that it becomes aestheticised through its abstraction. This is something that Jameson picks up on in his reading of Debord, in which he identifies ‘that the ultimate form of commodity reification in contemporary consumer society is precisely the image itself.’[17] Thus there is a self-fulfilling, cyclical element to commodification: the abstraction and loss of meaning inherent to the commodification process strips the commodity of any signification beyond itself, giving it a degree of autonomy previously reserved for the aestheticised art object. This in turn generates a new kind of abstraction that functions purely to justify its own commodification. As Jameson continues:

With this universal commodification of our object world, the familiar accounts of the other-directedness of contemporary conspicuous consumption and of sexualization of our objects and activities are also given: the new model car is essentially an image for other people to have of us, and consume, less the thing itself, than its abstract idea, capable of the libidinal investments ingeniously arrayed for us by advertising.[18]

The suggestion here is that this process of abstraction inherent to an ever-growing commodification leads to an aestheticisation of the commodity, and inevitably the commodification of the aesthetic, which Andreas Huyssen attests to in his analysis of mass culture:

Just as art works become commodities and are enjoyed as such, the commodity itself in consumer society has become image, representation, spectacle. Use value has been replaced by packaging and advertising. The commodification of art ends up in the aestheticization of the commodity.[19]

Thus in contemporary society the difference between the art object as an aesthetic phenomenon and as a commodity is rendered negligible, and as such this can be identified as a key characteristic of the extent to which contemporary popular culture has been commodified. As Jameson continues, ‘it is clear that such an account of commodification has immediate relevance to aesthetics, if only because it implies that everything in consumer society has taken on an aesthetic dimension.’[20] Thus it could be said that the main purpose of art (and popular culture) in a society in which everything is commodified is as a signifier of that very commodification. The result of this, Steven Shaviro writes, is that:

Aesthetic sensations and feelings are no longer disinterested, because they have been recast as markers of personal identity: revealed preferences, brands, lifestyle markers, objects of adoration by fans. Aesthetic sensations and feelings are also ruthlessly cognized: for it is only insofar as they are known and objectively described, or transformed into data, that they can be exploited as forms of labor, and marketed as fresh experiences and exciting lifestyle choices.[21]

Similarly, commodities themselves have taken on a degree of autonomy reminiscent of that which could previously be seen only in the ‘pure’, astheticised art object, leading to the commodity existing as an end in its own right, as Stephen Shapiro states:

Today…we live in a world where it seems as if commodities belong to a nation of their own, a global market place complete with its own language. The globalized market is often presented in advertising as if its commodities have liberated themselves from the boringly local concerns of humans. As exchange-value becomes separated from use-value, it seems as if objects have needs of their own, which they satisfy by themselves in ways that divorce the representation of value from the ‘social process’ that created it.[22]

This is the key difference between the commodification of popular culture as identified by the likes of Debord and Adorno and that which we see today: the process of abstraction has reached a point where the separation of commodities from the ‘social process’ whence it originated has deemed it unnecessary to even identify itself as commodification. It has gained an aestheticised dimension whereby, as hinted by Debord and Jameson above, it has taken on a degree of autonomy in its own right. Adorno and Horkheimer hint towards this when they state that ‘advertising becomes art and nothing else…l’art pour l’art, advertising for its own sake, a pure representation of social power.’[23]

Crucially though, Adorno’s later re-evaluation of the culture industry thesis acknowledges that this is an ongoing process, and that commodification within popular culture will inherently grow with the unwavering accumulation of capitalist development:

Cultural entities typical of the culture industry are no longer also commodities, they are commodities through and through. This quantitative shift is so great that it calls forth entirely new phenomena. Ultimately, the culture industry no longer even needs to directly pursue everywhere the profit interests from which it originated. These interests have become objectified in its ideology and have even made themselves independent of the compulsion to sell the cultural commodities which must be swallowed anyway…Brought to bear is a general uncritical consensus, advertisements produced for the world, so that each product of the culture industry becomes its own advertisement.[24]

The fact that Adorno can begin to recognise the increasing development of this in the time between his two major works on mass culture (‘The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception’ and ‘Culture Industry Reconsidered’) is testament to the notion that, in any given moment, commodification is reaching closer to a totality, leading to a recognition that, as Marcuse writes, the ‘essential gap between the arts and the order of the day…is progressively closed by the advancing technological society.’[25] Therefore contemporary popular culture will inevitably be more commodified than in any previous era of capitalism.

The power of recuperation evident today is also symptomatic of an increased commodification in contemporary popular culture. As Marcuse goes on to say, ‘works of alienation are themselves incorporated into this society and circulate as part and parcel of the equipment which adorns and psychoanalyzes the prevailing state of affairs. Thus they become commercials – they sell, comfort, or excite.’[26] Marcuse, like Adorno, hints at the extent to which popular culture will go on to be commodified, and can recognise this is an inevitability, but cannot possibly articulate how this will manifest in contemporary popular culture. As such, the difference between analyses of the commodification of popular culture in the mid-to-late twentieth century and that of the present day is that whereas Debord and Adorno initially defined their respective phenomena against some imagined potential for culture to ‘exist’ external to capital, today we must approach popular culture based on a paradigm that nothing can exist outside of capital. As Shaviro notes:

Labor, subjectivity, and social life are no longer “outside” capital and antagonistic to it. Rather, they are immediately produced as parts of it. They cannot resist the depredations of capital, because they themselves are already functions of capital.[27]

Mark Fisher calls this inescapable totality capitalist realism, and it is through this prism we must analyse the commodification of contemporary popular culture. As he states in Capitalist Realism, ‘capitalism is what is left when beliefs have collapsed at the level of ritual or symbolic elaborations, and all that is left is the consumer-spectator, trudging through the ruins and the relics.’[28] There is the suggestion therefore that the flexibility of capitalism to assimilate into itself anything that may initially seem antagonistic means that any conception of popular culture that neglects or underestimates its inevitable commodification is now approaching obsolescence. As Fisher continues:

The old struggle between detournement and recuperation, between subversion and incorporation, seems to have been played out. What we are dealing with now is not the incorporation of materials that previously seemed to possess subversive materials, but instead, their precorporation: the pre-emptive formatting and shaping of desires, aspirations and hopes by capitalist culture.[29]

Thus it would appear that, in contemporary culture, the ability of capitalism to recuperate and assimilate all aspects of life into itself is reaching its full potential. It would appear that the commodification of popular culture has therefore reached a degree of totality to an unprecedented extent, echoing Debord’s proclamation that ‘the spectacle is the moment when commodity has attained the total occupation of social life.’[30]

The curious thing about this near-totality, however, is that the aforementioned alienation and abstraction it generates also serves to create the fragmentation that could be seen to discredit the possibility of this totality existing in the first place. This largely stems from the notion that, as Max Haiven notes, in contemporary neoliberal capitalism ‘our capacity to chart alternative futures atrophies, and our hopes and dreams become ever more fragmented, commodified, and individualized.’[31] Likewise, as Jameson notes with regards to reification, ‘the other definition of reification that has been important in recent years is the “effacement of the traces of production” from the object itself, from the commodity thereby produced.’[32] This would suggest that, analogous to the shift from Fordism to a post-Fordist model of capital accumulation, popular culture has transitioned from the ‘mass’ culture of which Adorno suggests to a more atomised form of dissemination that maintains itself through the concealment of its own origins. It is from issues such as this that the obfuscation inherent to commodification and the expansion of capital makes itself problematic in examining the true extent to which contemporary popular culture is commodified.

Thus there seems to be a paradox here, in that the totality of the culture industry begets an abstraction and fragmentation that, crudely analysed, would seem to discredit the existence of the very totality that it was born out of. It is necessary, therefore, to reread concepts applied to previous modes of commodification and cultural-capitalist production in order to fully perceive the extent to which contemporary popular culture is commodified. Bewes, for example, forwards the notion that (at least in its conventional reading) reification is perhaps an obsolete concept in terms of its relevance for an analysis of contemporary capitalism, suggesting that:

Reifcation is a pseudo-scientific abstraction which, moreover, is all too susceptible to the process it denotes. Reification seems far too simplistic a concept to apply to a modernizing, market-driven, multicultural society which, by definition, is in a state of continual reinvention and flux, rather than one of decline, stasis or stagnation. [33]

While this might imply the obsolescence of reification as a theoretical concept, it can also be indicative of the way in which a reified culture has contributed to the form of commodification that can be perceived today. It could therefore be contended that, rather than signalling its own obsolescence, it is this analysis of reification that reveals its role in the establishment of contemporary incarnations of commodification in popular culture.

Far from discrediting the concept of reification, Bewes’ reading does in fact prove to be symptomatic of the way in which reification has contributed to the commodification of popular culture. As Bewes himself asserts, ‘Reification is…the concept which…speaks to our present condition more than any other. In order to do so adequately, however, it requires reformulation – precisely as the theory of its own inadequacy.’[34] The suggestion here is that rather than being in conflict with a conception of commodification in contemporary popular culture, the process of reification has today taken on another dimension that belies the totality of its origin. The extreme saturation of commodification in contemporary popular culture ‘becomes that of pure fetishism or reification: the systematic production of abstraction, and thus the further mystification of society itself.’[35] This process of self-mystification, Bewes surmises, is the key way in which reification maintains its relevance today, despite any misconceptions about it being ill suited to current modes of capitalism:

The figure of ‘total reification’ is, despite its apparent idealism, an appropriate one for a world in which a new generation of spectres is proliferating before our eyes. ‘Advanced capitalism’ is a totally reified society which mystifies everything, including all manifestations of otherness, which it produces in forms which appear completely alien to itself.[36]

Jameson also points out this potential conflict between abstraction and totality when discussing the abstraction of finance capital, suggesting that ‘nor does the conventional notion of abstraction seem very appropriate in the postmodern context; and yet…nothing is quite so abstract as the finance capital which underpins and sustains postmodernity as such.’[37]

The changing conception of the form of the spectacle itself is also indicative of the way in which the difficulty of comprehending capitalist totality is testament to its power, rather than a refutation of its existence. Debord, much like Adorno, felt it necessary to revise his original thesis to address a reformulation symptomatic of the changeable form of capitalism. In his Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, Debord suggests the development of what he calls ‘the integrated spectacle’,[38] which ‘shows itself to be simultaneously concentrated and diffuse’[39] in order to, analogous to the thought of Harvey, gain the degree of flexibility necessary for its continual growth of power. The important thing to note about this reformulation is that, as McKenzie Wark notes, ‘the integrated spectacle not only extended the spectacle outwards, but also inwards; the falsification of the world had reached by this point even those in charge of it.’[40] The inevitable result of this totality of falsification is what Wark calls ‘the disintegrating spectacle, in which the spectator gets to watch the withering away of the old order, ground down to near nothingness by its own steady divergence from any apprehension of itself.’[41] This again suggests that the more phenomena of capital – including commodification – permeate every aspect of life, culture and society, the more it is necessary for ever-increasing obfuscation. The true power and legacy of commodification, therefore, is its ability to achieve this to such a degree that any true critique becomes problematic.

Thus it is apparent that a defining trait of the commodification of popular culture as seen today is one of abstraction and consequential self-obfuscation that, while indicative of the effectiveness of apparatuses of capital, also makes for a potentially problematic critique. However, this can be circumvented through a recognition that it is this very potential and contradiction that defines and strengthens the form of contemporary capitalism, and by extension commodification in popular culture. As Harvey writes, ‘the tension that has always prevailed within capitalism between monopoly and competition, between centralization and decentralization of economic power, is being worked out in fundamentally new ways.’[42] However, it is also important to note that:

This does not necessarily imply, however, that capitalism is becoming more ‘disorganized’…For what is most interesting about the current situation is the way in which capitalism is becoming ever more tightly organized through dispersal, geographical mobility, and flexible responses in labour markets, labour processes, and consumer markets, all accompanied by hefty doses of institutional, product, and technological innovation.[43]

With this in mind we can see that, likewise in popular culture, the fragmentation of production and reception, the diversification of forms and so forth are not evidence or symptoms of the fragmentation of capitalism or commodification itself. On the contrary, this process has shown the success of obfuscation and abstraction in sustaining the extent of commodification more than ever before.

All of the primary phenomena of commodification from seemingly bygone eras, as described above, suggest that they are merely pinpointing the current state of commodification at a certain time, with the acknowledgement that it is one part of an ongoing process, and today we see the full consequences of this process. However, while the work of Lukacs, Adorno and Debord all hint towards this process of increasing commodification, to a certain extent their theories all render themselves obsolete due the focus on a critique of monolithic, homogenising totalities that can no longer be said to exist today due to this very process of commodification.

However, it is key to undertake a more complex reading of this notion, and instead recognise that esotericism and fragmentation in the makeup of superstructural instruments in contemporary culture should not be mistaken for the superstructure itself to be weakened or even nonexistent, and it is a recognition of this fact that is key to recognising the extent to which contemporary popular culture is commodified. Abstraction and fragmentation may give the illusion that popular culture is less commodified, but this belies the totality of commodification in modern society.

There is not a contrast to be drawn between the commodification of popular culture in the mid-twentieth century and that of the present day, but rather a recognition of the intensification of a process of continuing and increasing commodification. The reification of culture, its ‘industrialisation’ and its abstraction in postmodernity are all steps essential to the growth inherent in the relentless development of capital. Thus the analysis of previous incarnations of commodification in popular culture as seen in the work of Lukcas, Adorno and Debord can be resuscitated for application to contemporary culture, but only after a similar rereading of the aforementioned critiques.

The apparent increase of commodification within popular culture has made it clear that, in essence, popular culture is the commodification of the aesthetic, the aestheticisation of the commodity: to separate the two is a fallacy, as is any attempt to fully determine whether one era of capitalist popular culture is more or less commodified than any other. As such the analysis presented here is perhaps not of the extent of commodification under various stages of capitalism, but rather the various ways in which, analogous to capital itself, commodified popular culture has continually and effectively been able to adapt and sustain its own hegemony. Likewise, the aforementioned paradox may not be paradoxical after all: rather than the current fragmented mode of capital-as-culture seeming weaker and perhaps less commodified, it instead confirms – and is testament to – the manner and extent of commodification in popular culture today.


Bibliography

Adorno, Theodor W. and Horkheimer, Max, ‘The Culture Industry: Enlightenment As Mass Deception’, in Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. by John Cumming (London: Verso, 1979), pp. 120-167.

Theodor W. Adorno, ‘Culture Industry Reconsidered’, New German Critique, 6 (1975), 12-19.

Attali, Jacques, Noise: The Political Economy of Music, trans. by Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985).

Bewes, Timothy, Reification, or, the Anxiety of Late Capitalism (London: Verso, 2002).

Debord, Guy, Society of the Spectacle (Detroit: Black & Red, 1983).

Debord, Guy, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, trans. by Malcolm Imrie (London: Verso, 1988).

Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (Winchester: Zero, 2009).

Max Haiven, ‘Finance as Capital’s Imagination? Reimagining Value and Culture in an Age of Fictitious Capital and Crisis’, Social Text, 108 (2011), 93-124.

Harvey, David, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990).

Huyssen, Andreas, After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).

Jameson, Fredric, The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern 1983-1998 (London: Verso, 2009).

Jameson, Fredric, Postmodernism: Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (London: Verso, 1991).

Jameson, Fredric, ‘Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture’, Social Text, 1 (1979), 130-148.

Lukács, Gyorgy, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, trans. by Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971).

Marcuse, Herbert, One-Dimensional Man (London: Routledge, 1991).

Shapiro, Stephen, Marx’s Capital (London: Pluto Press, 2008).

Shaviro, Steven, ‘Accelerationist Aesthetics: Necessary Inefficiency in Times of Real Subsumption’ <http://www.e-flux.com/journal/accelerationist-aesthetics-necessary-inefficiency-in-times-of-real-subsumption/&gt; [Accessed January 4             2014].

Wark, McKenzie, The Spectacle of Disintegration: Situationist Passages Out of the 20th Century (London: Verso, 2013).


[1] David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990), p. 343.

[2] Gyorgy Lukács, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, trans. by Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971), p. 87.

[3] Lukács, p. 87.

[4] Lukács, p. 88.

[5] Timothy Bewes, Reification, or, the Anxiety of Late Capitalism (London: Verso, 2002), p. 4.

[6] Stephen Shapiro, Marx’s Capital (London: Pluto Press, 2008), p. 34.

[7] Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music, trans. by Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985), p. 5.

[8] Attali, p. 5.

[9] Harvey, p. 141.

[10] Harvey, p. 147.

[11] Harvey, p. 142.

[12] Harvey, p. 147.

[13] Harvey, p. 156.

[14] Fredric Jameson, The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern 1983-1998 (London: Verso, 2009), p. 148.

[15] Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle (Detroit: Black & Red, 1983), §. 34.

[16] Debord, Society of the Spectacle, §. 32.

[17] Fredric Jameson, ‘Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture’, Social Text, 1 (1979), 130-148 (p. 132).

[18] Jameson, ‘Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture’, p. 132.

[19] Andreas Huyssen, After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), p. 21.

[20] Jameson, ‘Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture’, p. 132.

[21] Steven Shaviro, ‘Accelerationist Aesthetics: Necessary Inefficiency in Times of Real Subsumption’ <http://www.e-flux.com/journal/accelerationist-aesthetics-necessary-inefficiency-in-times-of-real-subsumption/&gt; [Accessed January 4 2014]

[22] Shapiro, p. 39.

[23] Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, ‘The Culture Industry: Enlightenment As Mass Deception’, in Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. by John Cumming (London: Verso, 1979), pp. 120-167, (p. 163).

[24] Theodor W. Adorno, ‘Culture Industry Reconsidered’, New German Critique, 6 (1975), 12-19 (p. 13).

[25] Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man (London: Routledge, 1991), p. 67.

[26] Marcuse, p. 67.

[27] Steven Shaviro, ‘Accelerationist Aesthetics: Necessary Inefficiency in Times of Real Subsumption’ <http://www.e-flux.com/journal/accelerationist-aesthetics-necessary-inefficiency-in-times-of-real-subsumption/&gt; [Accessed January 4 2014]

[28] Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (Winchester: Zero, 2009), p. 4.

[29] Fisher, p. 9.

[30] Debord, §. 42.

[31] Max Haiven, ‘Finance as Capital’s Imagination? Reimagining Value and Culture in an Age of Fictitious Capital and Crisis’, Social Text, 108 (2011), 93-124 (p. 101).

[32] Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism: Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (London: Verso, 1991), p. 314.

[33] Bewes, p. 3.

[34] Bewes, p. xvii.

[35] Bewes, p. 258.

[36] Bewes, p. 267.

[37] Jameson, The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern 1983-1998, p. 149.

[38] Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, trans. by Malcolm Imrie (London: Verso, 1988), p. 9.

[39] Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, p. 9.

[40] McKenzie Wark, The Spectacle of Disintegration: Situationist Passages Out of the 20th Century (London: Verso, 2013), p. 2.

[41] Wark, p. 3.

[42] Harvey, p. 159.

[43] Harvey, p. 159.

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