chapter
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Pages 7

However, in breaking away from established philosophical schools, and

yet offering no clear direction or means to overcome the domination

they identified, the Frankfurt School has attracted a great deal of

hostility. Marxists have criticised the School for failing to ground their

assessment within a practical economic analysis, and for sacrificing

materialist science for metaphysics. More recently within cultural

studies, the Frankfurt School has been accused of presenting an

unsatisfactory notion of domination within the cultural industries. In

portraying mass culture as a means to a type of ‘thought control’,

Adorno and Horkheimer in particular overestimate the deliberate,

conspiratorial use of technology to shape attitudes. This approach

ignores the fact that culture is created out a complex interplay of a

range of influences and institutions and that audiences are capable of

engaging with and selecting culture rather than being merely passive

recipients.