Originally printed in the New Left Review, no. 64, , pp. Potentialities of communication media “For the first time in history, the media. Media do not produce objects which can be hoarded. Do away with “intellectual property” (Magnus was dead wrong here – battles over IP are. A Theory of the Media. [ Introduction] Constituents of a Theory of the Media “The new media are oriented toward action, not contemplation; toward.

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They accepted, and I was to carry it out.

Monopoly capitalism develops the consciousness-shaping industry more quickly and more extensively than other enzfnsberger of production; it must at the same time fetter it.

Enzensberger says that it is ideologically sterile and incapable of making any appropriate use of media. Fidel appreciated the revolutionary potential of the media correctly from the first Moncada The general contradiction between productive forces and productive relationships emerges most sharply, however, when they are most advanced.

Interference can penetrate the leaky nexus of the media, spreading and multiplying there with the utmost speed by resonance. The Supersession of Written Culture The most powerful agent is the film.

Enzensberger by R.G. Davis

The point, however, is not to demolish its promises but to take them literally and to show that they can be met only through a consttiuents revolution. In the best of cases, these are constiituents who cannot conceive of socialism as anything other than nationalization. Since then we have seen abuses and progressive distortions of the media, yet the ideas in this and other essays afford Marxists working weapons in their struggles.

So long as the cultural revolution has the initiative, the social imagination of the masses overcomes even technical backwardness and transforms the function of the old media so that their structures are exploded. In its present form, theoy like television or film does not server communication but prevents it. Notify me of new comments via email. Even so potent a means of production as the short-wave transmitter has been tamed in this way and reduced to a harmless and inconsequential hobby in the hands of scattered radio hams.


The author becomes a coonstituents of a group who produce the new media.

Constituents of a Theory of the Media

It is like questioning, how good is good. In the case of the media industry that is by definition the case. Its social significance, particularly in its most positive form, is inconceivable without its destructive, cathartic aspect, that is, the liquidation of the traditional value of the cultural heritage. The Desacralization of Art The tactical contradictions in which he must become involved in the process can neither be denied nor covered up in any way.

The technically most advanced electrostatic copying machine, which operates with ordinary paper — which cannot that is to say, be supervised and is independent of suppliers — is the product of a monopoly Xerox ; on principle it is not sold but rented. During the May events in Paris the reversion to archaic forms of conshituents was particularly characteristic.

Enzensberger says that it seems that because of their progressive potential, the media are seen to be a threat as they challenge the bourgeoisie culture and thereby the privileges of the intelligentsia. Unfortunately, the socialist left till now have not proven anything in terms of handling the media in the right direction.

Properties of the New Media. What used to be called art, has now, in the strict Hegelian sense, been dialectically surpassed by and constiruents the media. There is no such thing as unmanipulated writing, filming, or broadcasting.


Mere noise permits of no articulated interactions. Notify me of new comments via email. Enzensebrger equipment crops up as if by magic where economic and political ,edia are concentrated. The theory of repressive tolerancewhich is in itself an important concept, has also permeated discussion of the media by the left.

In the electronic media, a radically altered relationship between subject and object emerges with which the old critical concepts cannot deal.

I read this essay late in when it appeared in New Left Review No.

Hans Magnus Enzensberger: Constituents of a Theory of the Media () | Excerpter

But the instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. The former is till now, in the hands of the bureaucracy.

A revolutionary plan should not require the manipulators to disappear; on the contrary, it must make everyone a manipulator. Through this statement, we come to know about the immense potential of media. The counter reaction to this fear is the split that results among the political active groups and the subcultural groups. The student movements in the USA, in Japan, and in Western Europe soon recognized this and, to begin with, achieved considerable momentary successes with the aid of the media.

Long before the latter are overthrown, the contradiction between what is possible and what actually exists will become acute.