Date of Degree

6-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

William Kornblum

Subject Categories

American Studies

Keywords

arena, culture, stadium

Abstract

This paper explores arenas and stadia, specifically Madison Square Garden and Citi Field in New York City, through the prism of Theodor Adorno's conception of the culture industry, the notion that cultural artifacts are consciously created in order to reify the values of the existing social system, especially those of elites. Rather than focusing solely on media culture, this essay proposes that understandings of mass culture can be enhanced by focusing on the context of the consumption of mass-cultural artifacts, namely the development of a conception of place within the mind of the consumer, who has an active role in interpreting said artifacts. Hence, these venues are explored through the mind of a consumer as well as through the presentation of these venues by the corporate entities that manage these spaces. Ultimately, a critique of the culture industry is developed by focusing on culture as a lived, albeit guided, experience. The physical and virtual spaces of these venues are explored, from the contemplation of attending an event at the venue to the generation of memories of the event, over the course of several months from the vantage point of both a visitor and employee of these venues. The paper incorporates personal experiences in these places with how these spaces are depicted by the mass media. This paper highlights the dialectic between consumption and production in the development of mass culture.

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