That the show using satire talks about ideals and theories formed by the Frankfurt School, while the majority of characters represent society and effect of mass media and mass consumption in a capitalist society. Daria and her friend Jane, however, represent people who revolt against the massproduced ideals and in turn are ridiculed by others. Paragraph 1 Introduction on how the Frankfurt school was founded and also background on Marxism, as that is the basis for their theory.
The school followed the teachings of Karl Marx and were studying why capitalist societies were succeeding while communist regimes were floundering. Karl Marx was the founder of Marxism, which is the system of economic, social, and political philosophy that views social change in relation to economic factors. In Marxist theory, it is believed that class structure will be overthrown when the proletariat remove the bourgeois from their positions of power, thus destroying the class structure.
The Frankfurt School – also known as the Institute of Social Research – was founded in 1923 by Felix Weil, in Frankfurt am Main Germany. Its goal was to study Marxist theory in Germany In 1933 the school officially adopted a school of thought when they were forced to move from Germany to America due to the Nazi regime. In America, they settled at Columbia University in New York. The Frankfurt School set to critique modernities, capitalism, while understanding social freedom and the downfalls of society.
As well as studying the labor movement and the origins of anti-semitism, which had yet to be addressed in the German intellectual and academic life. Paragraph 2 Talk more about the Frankfurt ideology and Critical Theory. As the school started in Germany in the 1920s they were around when the Nazi party rose to power, therefore a majority of their studies were about Nazism. The school separated into two approaches when looking at Nazism; one was guided by Franz Leopold Neumann, Arcadius Rudolph Lang Gurland, and Otto Kirchheimer, which focused on the political and legal issues regarding economic structures.
The second approach was guided by Max Horkheimer, who studied the source of psychological irrationalism in regard to obedience and dominance. Critical Theory was established by the Frankfurt School as a radical yet independent form of Marxist theory, while also being influenced by Hegel’s notions of dialectics. Critical Theory functions as a way to evaluate the rationalization behind past and present injustices, and how the injustices become accepted aspects of culture.
For example, how society accepted racism and sexism; however, critical theory works to find alternative ways of creating social bounds Paragraph 3 Talk about how the Frankfurt school used critical theory to examine and critique mass culture and mass production, as well as capitalism. Marx had predicted that capitalism would spark a revolution which would then lead into a communist society; however, as the Frankfurt School discovered, this was not what happened, “what we had set out to do was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism.
The people were too enticed by material growth to recognize the separation and segregation of the classes. Horkheimer and Adorno believed that reproductions lead to the decline of the avant garde art as a critique on society, and instead in a monopoly capitalist society, art functioned as a indoctrination, so that the culture is not critiqued and therefore reformation will not occur. The Frankfurt school coined the term “culture industry” as a way to represent mass-produced culture as if it were a process of industrialization.
The critical theorists then discovered that the commodities of the culture industries were presented similar aspects of massed produced products, including commodification, standardization, and massification. They used this as a way to analyze the effects of mass culture and consumer society on the working class, and realized that it was stabilizing a capitalist society, thus they attempted to find new ways to invoke political change and transformation.
They believed that mass culture trained individuals to conform to the dominant thoughts and behaviors in society, thus mass culture was a tool for social control. When they arrived in the United States they studied the way in which America’s pop culture controlled by corporations, which mass produced products that sold the values and institutions of the idealized American life; whereas, in Germany they were more focused on the control and domination of a fascist society through the use of mass culture and production.
In America the the corporations use the public spheres as a space to manipulate the population into consumption and manufactured opinions instead of unity that forms from debate. Paragraph 4 Analyzing the show Daria in conjunction with the Frankfurt School Daria holds similar principles as the Frankfurt School and show this through the use of satire. The majority of the characters are there to represent society, who are habitualized to stop thinking critically and accept the ideals given to them by the culture industry.
For example Daria’s sister Quinn only ever talks about herself and always refers to her appearance, and how others will judge her on said appearence. “How will I hold my head up in the fashion club…. Just because you’re (Daria) not interested in what new and attractive and popular. ” In episode one the family is eating dinner when the mom brings up Daria’s need to make friends, when Daria comments that all the people at her school are stupid her mother responds by saying “don’t be so critical”.
This comment on its own would just appear to be a mother telling her daughter to be less judgemental of others; however, looking at it from a neo-marxist perspective while having Daria represent a person who is revolting from a society of non critical thinkers means that the mother is just consume and conform like everyone else. In the same episode Brittney saying “perspective is hard” In episode 9 of season 1 of Daria Quinn desperately wants to get plastic surgery, since other girls in her class had gotten cosmetic surgery.
This episode compared to the Frankfurt School’s critical theory addresses the standardization and massification of beauty as an American idea, as well as that ideal feeding into capitalism thus sustaining it. When Quinn and Daria visit Dr. Shar she alters Quinn’s appearance digitally and then states that to make those adjustments it will cost over 6,000 dollars. However, when Dr. Shar alters Daria’s image it comes out looking identical to Quinn – pre-adjustments, which would cost 23,000 dollars.
When later discussing the altercation with her friend, Jane asks “why would you wanna look like that loser, she needs 6,000 dollars worth of plastic surgery” highlighting the ramifications of a standardized mass-produced image in a capitalist society. Kevin – a person who would normally be considered attractive according to the mass-produced ideal was assigned to look ugly and take note of the difference in others reactions. When he changed his appearance that no longer conformed to the norm people ignored him or treated him badly, highlighting how those who do not conform or accept the ideals are shunned from the rest of society.
Horkheimer and Adorno in a Dialectic of Enlightenment discuss how the individual does not exist because of the standardization and the means of production; “this person is tolerated only so long as his or her identification with the “generality” is unquestioned. ” In episode 5 Daria’s class takes a field trip to the Mall of the Millennium which is the second largest mall and Daria throws-up directly in front of the mall after protesting the field trip from the start.
The Mall is the epitome of the mass production and mass culture, so when Daria becomes ill when at the mall it symbolizes a disgust for what the mall is a stand in for. The character of Daria’s father is in exaggeration of the effects of mass culture in a capitalist society on the middle and working class. The father has constant anxiety and stress over money, which is conducive to the effects that capitalism has on the working and middle class.