The Consciousness Industry; On Literature, Politics and the Media  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Consciousness Industry: On Literature, Politics, and the Media is a compilation of essays written by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated and published in an English version in 1974.

Chapter Contents

  • The Industrialization of the Mind (1962)
  • The Aporias of the Avant Garde (1962)
  • The World Language of Modern Poetry (1960/62)
  • Poetry and Politics (1962)
  • Commonplaces on the Newest Literature (1968)
  • Constituents of a Theory of Media (1970)
  • Tourists of the Revolution (1973)

In "The Industrialization of the Mind," Enzensberger characterizes mentality as a product of society and elaborates on the phenomena of the mind-making industry as a product of the last 100 years. The industrialization of the mind is achieved through means of induction and reproduction, and although it can be industrially reproduced, it cannot be industrially produced. As a social product, the consciousness industry cannot be understood in terms of machinery, nor in terms of a buyers and sellers market, or production cost. Its main business is not to sell a product, but rather, to sell the existing order, and "to perpetuate the prevailing pattern of man's domination by man, no matter who runs the society, and by what means."Template:Enzensberger, 10 In a modern society, Enzensberger identifies "immaterial exploitation" as a necessary corollary to "material exploitation," whereby material exploitation is no longer sufficient to guarantee the continuity of the system; in order to exploit people's intellectual, moral, and political faculties, they must be developed. The roles of education and mass media then become critical in immaterial exploitation, in fact, Enzensberger identifies education as the most powerful mass media of all. The full realization of the mind industry, however, has hardly begun to be realized. A fully industrialized education system will be characterized by an increasingly centralized curriculum. The growth of the mind industry is faster than that of any other industry.

Cultural Industry versus Consciousness Industry

Published 1974 Seabury Press ISBN 978-0-8164-9185-8

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