Writing in the 1980s, Herbert Schiller observed the increasing control of culture by a decreasing number of corporations that prioritize profit over the artistic or cultural value of a work. This argument updates and reinforces the “mass culture” argument Adorno and Horkheimer made 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.

Write a comparative essay, comparing one of the following essays to Schiller’s essay “The Corporation and the Production of Culture.”

  1. Michael Curtin, “On Edge: Culture Industries in the Neo-Network Era.”
  2. Hector Amaya, “Citizenship, Diversity, Law and Ugly Betty.”
  3. Tom McCourt and Patrick Burkart, “When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of Online Music Distribution.”
  4. Mark Andrejevic, “The Work of Being Watched: Interactive Media and the Exploitation of Self-Disclosure.”
  5. Lawrence Grossberg, “The Affective Sensibility of Fandom.”
  6. Mizuko Ito, “Japanese Media Mixes and Amateur Cultural Exchange.”

How does it agree or disagree with Schiller’s argument? Who is in control of culture? Is it the corporations that run the culture industry for profit? Is it the users—the audience—that have control over culture? Is culture a top-down flow, as Schiller would argue? Or is culture a bottom-up process, where the users have a sense of agency and control? Is it more complex than any one of these models?

A comparative essay examines more than one thing—in this case essays written by other scholars—along a set of consistent criteria. Refer to my example of Apples and Oranges: A Comparison

There are two parts to this assignment, both must be submitted on Microsoft Teams.

Part 1: Draft and Outline

Write a draft and outline of your proposed essay that includes the following:

  1. a one-paragraph summary of Schiller’s central argument about the corporate control of the culture industries, including a few relevant quotes.
  2. a one-paragraph summary of the central argument made in the essay you selected, including determining whether the you essay selected agrees or disagrees with Schiller’s argument about media and culture industries. Please include a few relevant quotes.
  3. a provisional thesis statement that connects the essay you selected with Schiller’s central argument.
  4. a provisional outline—a list of topic sentences—of how you plan to compare these essays and support your thesis.

Submit this draft and outline on Microsoft Teams by the deadline noted on the course website and on Microsoft Teams. Use the attached Word document: no other format or attachment is acceptable.

Paper Writing Tips

Please review my video on some tips that you should consider as you work from revising your draft to a final version that you will submit.

Part 2: Final Essay

As soon as you submit your draft and outline, schedule an appointment with me to discuss how to realize your final essay.

I will not accept your final essay unless we meet to discuss your draft.

Your final essay should cite sources, according to my Guidelines on Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Citing Sources.