More on Critical Theory-Ron
FOUR BOOKS IN FOUR EPOCHS: ALL IN 1962.
The year I began my pioneering life and the year before I took my first course in sociology and its theories, sociologist and culture theorist, J?rgen Habermas published his The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere(1962). Habermas was, then, a student of the Frankfurt School of Social Research-which since the 1930s had been advancing a Marxist critique of western capitalism and its discontents. Habermas wrote The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (1962) to explore the status of public opinion in the practice of representative government in Western Europe. Habermas defined the public sphere as a virtual or imaginary community which does not necessarily exist in any identifiable space. In its ideal form, the public sphere is "made up of private people gathered together as a public and articulating the needs of society with the state.? -Ron Price with appreciation to Jurgen Habermas, op.cit., p.176.
Through acts of assembly and dialogue, the public sphere generates opinions and attitudes which serve to affirm or challenge and, therefore to guide, the affairs of state. In ideal terms, the public sphere is the source of public opinion needed to "legitimate authority in any functioning democracy" -Ron Price with thanks to Paul Rutherford, Endless Propaganda: The Advertising of Public Good, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 2000, p.18.
In that same year, 1962, I was 18 and my family moved to a nearby town. I did my matriculation studies and Jacques Ellul echoed Habermas' concern in his Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes(1962). Ellul's term "the propaganda of integration" included biased newscasts, misinformation and political education which worked over time to shape the individual to suit the needs of social mechanisms. Ellul argued that propaganda is necessary in a democracy, even though it can create zombies of its citizens. "Propaganda is needed in the exercise of power for the simple reason that the masses have come to participate in political affairs."
In 1962 Herbert Marcuse was finishing his One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society. This book analyzed the new "voice of command" used by managers, educators, experts, and politicians. This style of address, appropriated from advertising, had a hypnotic effect, argued Marcuse. The syntax of this speech and writing is abridged and condensed, giving the language more directness and assertiveness; it uses an emphatic concreteness, constant use of "you" and "your," and endlessly repeats images to fix them in people's minds. This style of rhetoric in Marcuse's terms creates the "one-dimensional" citizen, incapable of protest or refusal. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, April 7th 2006.