Summary of Culture and Value Terms

Essay by danie_lHigh School, 11th gradeA+, August 2004

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High Culture

High Culture is values and notions of cultural and national identities. It is extremely powerful within the culture in that it determines or defines not only which styles are most valued but also the attitudes and beliefs that are highly regarded in that particular culture. High culture is seen as texts such as Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. These have also been known to be "the greats" or "the classics". This type of literature is seen as "good for you and in some sense said to make you think, to give you new ways of seeing the world." Seen as the culture of the middle and upper class, High culture denies those of the working class, creating class structure and certain social positioning. It maintains social and political prominence of one particular culture at the expense of many others.

Popular Culture

Popular culture is often identified with genre fiction (fiction such as science fiction, romance and detective fiction which follows, or overtly contradicts, certain conventional patterns of characterisation and plot development), popular music and popular magazines.

According to this definition popular culture is that body of material which is marketed as entertainment, as fun, as being 'of people', rather than 'for (the good of) the people'. Popular films and television can also be classified as popular culture. Often the response to popular culture is something along the lines of 'oh, it's jus entertainment; you're making too much of it'. And here I can be postulated that the ways that popular films are marketed - as being 'pure escapist fantasy'.

According to this perspective, popular culture is seen as part of the culture of the working classes and, perhaps, the lower middle class, while High Culture is seen as part of the culture of the idle and...