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From Printing to Streaming

From Printing to Streaming

Cultural Production under Capitalism

by Michael Chanan

Series: Marxism and Culture

Explores the impact of digital technologies on the logic of cultural capitalism

For mainstream economics, cultural production raises no special questions: creative expression is to be harvested for wealth creation like any other form of labour. As Karl Marx saw it, however, capital is hostile to the arts because it cannot fully control the process of creativity. But while he saw the arts as marginal to capital accumulation, that was before the birth of the mass media.

Engaging with the major issues in Marxist theory around art and capitalism, From Printing to Streaming traces how the logic of cultural capitalism evolved from the print age to digital times, tracking the development of printing, photography, sound recording, newsprint, advertising, film and broadcasting, exploring the peculiarities of each as commodities, and their recent transformation by digital technology, where everything melts into computer code.

Showing how these developments have had profound implications for both cultural creation and consumption, Chanan offers a radical and comprehensive analysis of the commodification of artistic creation and the struggle to realise its potential in the digital age.

Michael Chanan is a documentary filmmaker, writer and Professor Emeritus at the University of Roehampton. He has written extensively on film and video in Latin America and has filmed in most of the countries in the continent at intervals since the early 1980s, as well as writing on other film history topics and the social history of music, and making several films on capitalism in crisis. His latest film is Cuba: Living Between Hurricanes.

'Chanan's rich historical investigations of the evolving technologies of artistic production provide a fascinating new basis for a politics of culture'

- Michael Hardt, author of 'The Subversive 70s'

'Drawing on nearly fifty years of writing and teaching about the media and making films, Michael Chanan presents us with a series overlapping histories of different media technologies, which is both authoritative and original'

- Julian Petley, Honorary and Emeritus Professor of Journalism at Brunel University, London

'Michael Chanan's brilliant synthesis, replete with fascinating detail, both boggles the mind and deeply educates'

- Claudia Gorbman, Professor Emerita of Film Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma

Series Preface
Preface
1. Autonomy of the Aesthetic
2. The Changing Logic of Artistic Production
3. Cultural Commodification
4. Countercurrents
5. From Analog to Digital
6. Creativity Reconsidered
Bibliography
Notes

Published by Pluto Press in Oct 2022
Paperback ISBN: 9780745340968
eBook ISBN: 9781786808028

272 pages

140mm x 216mm