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As Horkheimer and Adorno stressed, the essential characteristic of the culture industry is repetition. Adorno illustrates this by contrasting ‘popular’ and ‘serious’ music. As early as his 1936 essay ‘On Jazz’, Adorno had argued that an essential characteristic of popular music was its standardization. ‘On Popular Music’, written in 1941, repeats this point. “The whole structure of popular music is standardized, even where the attempt is made to circumvent standardization. Standardization extends from the most general features to the most specific ones.” Standardization implies the interchangeability, the substitutability of parts.
By contrast, ‘serious music’ is a ‘concrete totality’ for Adorno, whereby “every detail derives its musical sense from the concrete totality of the piece.” This is a dialectical relationship, whereby the totality is constituted of the organic interrelation of the particulars. In the case of serious music, interchangeability is not possible; if a detail is omitted, “all is lost.”
Other illustrations could be given, such as the soap operas with their substitutable episodes, horror films with their formulas, etc. This repetition is due to the reflection in the sphere of cultural production of the standardized and repetitive processes of monopoly capitalist industry. Under late capitalism, what happens at work in the factory or in the office can only be escaped by approximating it in one’s leisure time. This sets the terms for cultural products: “no independent thinking must be expected from the audiences” instead, “the product prescribes every reaction.” The standardization of the cultural product leads to the standardization of the audience. “Man as a member of a species has been made a reality by the culture industry. Now any person signifies only those attributes by which he can replace everybody else; he is interchangeable.” Standardization, says Adorno, “divests the listener of his spontaneity and promotes conditioned reflexes.” To this point, the argument suggests that both popular culture and its audience suffer a radical loss of significance under late capitalism.

As you can see it's a rather lengthy passage. What I don't understand is the underlined green bit but I felt that you would need the whole passage in order to interpret the green bit. Please don't be discouraged by the length of this passage and explain what the green bit is saying. Thank you so very much.
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JKBelieveUnder late capitalism, what happens at work in the factory or in the office can only be escaped by approximating it in one’s leisure time.
Hello JKB

Happy New Year!

The article you put is a bit too philosophical for me, but I think I got what the sentence in the question means.

"Late capitalism" is a system where production of goods was (and maybe is) made efficient not only by standardizing the products but also by standardizing the workers themselves at the factory. That sort of standardization would be agony to the workers and they would get rebellious against it if they enjoy an individual (or serious) private life at their leisure time. But this can be escaped if their private life is also standardized (popularized).

I take the meaning of the sentence this way. What makes the sentence ambiguous is the author uses "what happens at work" instead of "what would happen at work". This is my humble opinion, though.

paco
The authors see, under late capitalism, standardization both of products and persons. Individuals in a capitalist culture are portrayed as so standardized that even when these individuals want to escape from the forms of standardization in the workplace, they end up substituting those forms with equivalent ones in their leisure lives.
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I'm an english learner, here's my own understanding, just for your information:

Under late capitalism, what happens at work in the factory or in the office can only be escaped by approximating it in one’s leisure time. This sets the terms for cultural products: “no independent thinking must be expected from the audiences” instead, “the product prescribes every reaction.”

People will feel their jobs very boring if their leisure time are so colorful. and would not like to work. So the best way to prevent people from feeling this way is to make their leisure time also similiar (if not the same) to their work. for example the soap operas will also present people who lived the same standardizsed lives, and If there's no comparision, there won't be any complaints. Here "escaped" means "avoided". So how? Just as the following sentence says " This sets the terms for cultural products:“no independent thinking must be expected from the audiences” instead, “the product prescribes every reaction.”

Just my 2 cents.
In the historical period known as "late capitalism", the only escape from the repetitive processes of factory work is the repetitive entertainments offered by the 'culture industry', i.e., those who mass-produce such entertainments.

Note: I am uncertain whether this is the exact meaning, because I find "can only be escaped by" a troubling phrasing. Is the intent to say that the practitioners of "late capitalism" purposely intend to arrange the world so that relief from repetitive work can only take the form of repetitive entertainment? I tend to think so. If so, this is a depressing thought.

CJ
Capitalism depends upon the ability to profit from the delivery of a product. The best way to profit from a product is to convince the individuals in the culture that they need the product, whatever it is: cars, cellphones, drugs, hair restoration, credit cards, insurance, beer, eentertainment . Convincing a culture that it needs these products requires the standardization of desire and values. The product is, almost if not always, a material one, though it is often most effectively marketed in the more abstract form of a 'lifestyle'. If the profiteer can standardize lifestyle, the product will naturally find its place.

There seems nothing unique to late capitalism about the idea of the standardization of individuals in the culture; human beings in any given culture seek repetition and commonality. What is distinguishing, perhaps, about 'late capitalism" is that the control over the standardization of the individual is in the hands of product manufacturers (as opposed, for instance, to religious or political authority.)
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Thank you all ^^ It's been a lot of help to me
...what happens at work in the factory or in the office can only be escaped by approximating it in one’s leisure time....

To my ears, the restrictive "only" heightens the irony. I take the statement not as a literal description of every case, but as an ironic straight-faced presentation of an imaginary consensus:

1. (It's as if) X can be escaped only by doing Y!

"Work is dull and repetitive and standardised. Your leisure time is your period of respite (escapism). There is one means of escape that is itself dull and repetitive and standardised: popular culture. And people think that this is the 'only' means of escape!"

MrP
MrPedanticTo my ears, the restrictive "only" heightens the irony.

To mine, too.

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