Transformation of Entertainment Culture throughout Society and History

Transformation of Entertainment Culture throughout Society and History

Ebru Karadogan Ismayılov (İstanbul Commerce University, Turkey) and Gozde Sunal (İstanbul Commerce University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6190-5.ch001


Since the Ancient Greek period when labor was underestimated and entertainment drew the line between slaves and masters, changes in society and entertainment have followed parallel routes. In 17th century, individual entertainment was freed from the rules of religion, art was materialized and gained a deceptive dimension for the audience. The mood of boredom, which is experienced by the individual whose basic needs are satisfied, is an important data for the culture industry. Needs that do not exist in reality are created by the professionals of different disciplines through extensive and complementary activities. The culture industry captures the individual who is trying to get rid of the effects of business in a freed and undefended conscious and guides him/her according to its own ideology. Thus, methods of entertainment play an important role in the creation of current relations of hegemony and a subtle camouflage of its logic of work. This is explored in this chapter.
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It is quite natural for individuals to need entertainment in order to get over the wearing and monotonous impacts of business life, and rejuvenate themselves. In fact, the implementation of mandatory vacations is secured by law (Mackenzie, 1987, p. 24). Considering entertainment as a necessity is accompanied by the notion that this need must be satisfied. In this context, is it possible to claim that the notion of ‘leisure time’ is based on a deception that rests on the pre-acceptance of society?

Concepts of leisure time and spare time are occasionally used in place of each other; but if an activity is not the individual’s free choice, it cannot be defined as a spare time activity. An area that is open to manipulation cannot have an egalitarian and free quality (Aydoğan, 2000, pp. 20-21). It would be more accurate to approach leisure time in terms of providing continuity and increasing the power of capitalist system rather than the individual alone (Aytaç, 1994, p. 344). Leisure time is a realm outside working hours in which the individual can distance himself from the responsibilities in real life. In this realm, the individual attempts to provide harmony and peace in his inner world and ensure integration with society.

The culture industry does not take the risk of leaving the time outside working hours to the free use of the individual. According to Horkheimer (2005, pp. 487-488), the time outside of working hours is an extension of working. The individual’s position as dependent on power is reinforced by building the unconscious within leisure time (Oktay, 1987, p. 13). The fantasia created by entertainment industry acts as an illusion for the individual to endure real life (Oskay, 2000b, p. 97).

The fact that leisure time has become consumption-oriented and entered into the service of consumption economy is, without a doubt, likely to neutralize the efforts of optimistic leisure policymakers who wish to deploy leisure time as the rehabilitation base of individual and social pathologies. Because, leisure time which is approached by the individual to escape the pressure of real life causing stress, anxiety, depression, etc. will aggravate this anxiety altogether instead of eliminating it within this frame. In that context, leisure time and its style of designation incorporates a false consciousness and it serves for nothing but entrapping the individual and deceiving him for money, time, and attention/curiosity (Creekmore, 1994, p. 61; Aytaç, 2006, p. 48).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Virtual Reality: Generally, virtual reality has been related to computer based simulation techniques by penetrating into the human mind. It offers a replica of physical reality and brings its own logic to real life.

Surveillance: In the narrow sense, surveillance means the close observation of persons of interest. However, with the capabilities of technology it has gained a more systematic and pervasive character in the society.

Leisure Time: Leisure time enables the individual to work for the system’s survival. This concept involves entertainment and relaxation. Sometimes people use this period to express theirselves and render their existence meaningful.

Entertainment: In essence, entertainment is a distraction. From this aspect, it is a functional way to escape from the obligations arising from the plane of physical reality.

Culture Industry: Culture industry is a system that standardizes cultural products and harmonizes them with the dominant ideology. The logic of the system penetrates into people who are the consumers of these products. Thus, the prevailing norms of the system are legitimized.

Pleasure: Pleasure is an emotional state which is sought by people in order to achieve satisfaction. In this respect, it is a powerful momentum behind actions.

Globalization: Globalization is defined as a process a diffusion of commodities, services, cultures and value systems becoming standardized around the world. That being said, globalization also has a strong relationship with the new imperialist order. The key feature of globalization, therefore, is its capability of manufacturing consent, which enables itself to validate the unequal sharing of values throughout the world.

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