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Lecture Seven - High/Low Culture - Notes


High Culture

High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set ofcultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture. In more popular terms, it is the culture of an elite such as the aristocracy or intelligentsia, but also defined as a repository of a broad cultural knowledge, as a way of transcending the class system. It is contrasted with the low culture or popular culture of, variously, the less well-educated, barbariansPhilistines, or the masses.[1]

Low Culture

 Low culture is a term for some forms of popular culture. Its opposite is high culture. It has been said by culture theorists that both high culture and low culture are subcultures.

It is claimed that in simple terms, low culture is a derogatory term for popular culture. This means everything in society that has mass appeal. In today's society, this would involve things like 'take-away' meals, gossip magazines, books that are current best sellers, and sports such as football, basketball.

n argument that has arisen over the past few decades is that Popular Culture is synonymous with consumer generated media. Some theorist refer to this view of culture as a debate of popular culture versus culture industry. Where the first refers to the genuine expression of an artistic phenomena and the second where culture is being manufactured for an audience. This is increasingly a non-black and white argument with regard to the nature of  Aesthetic Relations(our judgement of good) and the neo-Marxist view that we now have. As touched upon in Dr. Strangelove’s lecture, historically and at times, currently, the Intellectual Elites dictate what is ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture; and by default, what is good and bad artistic expression. In short, often a past reason for the propagation of culture was for the moral em-betterment  of the ‘masses’. This is an issue of class, and power, that was a focal criticism of Marxist theories. 

Quite a tacky video but it has a great soudntrack on there and is clear with the information so it's worth a watch.

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