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Rocking the Culture Industry/Performing Breakdown: Pink Floyd's The Wall and the Termination of the Postwar Era

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Abstract:

The article offers a contextual interpretation of Pink Floyd's The Wall. It proceeds from the hypothesis that, as a multi-media artifice consisting of album, live shows, and music film, The Wall constitutes a significant monument situated at the historical turning-point when the postwar era dissolved into a new ideological alignment. Blending the two themes of rock history and remembrance of the Second World War, The Wall proposes an interpretation of mass/popular culture which is surprisingly close to Adorno's and Horkheimer's theses on the “culture industry.” The article explores this remarkable—and (determinedly?) self-defeating—conceptual concurrence of a mass-cultural product with the tenets of critical theory.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007766.2010.522830

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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