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José Ortega y Gasset on Mass Culture - Dictionary of Arguments

Brocker I 194
Mass/Ortega y Gasset: The increase in population is not in itself what Ortega calls "process of making masses". Mass processes occur when the fact of the "accumulation" of people or the "overcrowding" with people significantly changes their perceptions and behaviour, their concrete lifestyle. People now appear in visible "crowds" and "associations". As a (quantitative and visual) "crowd", they occupy the individual spaces and places of action of society.(1) And this general overcrowding of spaces and places leads to a radical change in ways of perception and behaviour.
Brocker I 195
For Ortega, "mass-being" is not merely an increase in population, but a "psychological fact": the "average person" prevails everywhere, moves into the foreground of society, occupies the premises, uses the equipment, seizes the individual possibilities of enjoyment, overflows everything and vividly demonstrates ("ad oculos" in the text Ortega) that there is a new type of behaviour.
"Making masses" as a cultural phenomenon concerns public life. This has a spiritual, a moral, an economic, a religious, a political and a whole of society dimension and concerns all collective customs (the so-called "usos", which are so fundamental for Ortega's concept of culture!) of social being. Different socio-economic and socio-cultural conditions make "making masses" possible, but it is more than the individual conditions and also more than their total sum.
See also Behaviour/Ortega.


1. José Ortega y Gasset, La Rebelión de las Masas (con un prólogo para franceses, un epílogo para ingleses y un apéndice: Dinámica del tiempo), Madrid 1937 (zuerst 1929). Dt.: José Ortega y Gasset, Der Aufstand der Massen, Reinbek 1956, p. 12

Thomas Gil, „Ortega y Gasset, Der Aufstand der Massen (1929)“ In: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018.


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The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Ortega y Gasset, José
Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-02-25
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