Popular Culture Vs Elite Culture

Popular Culture Vs Elite Culture

Popular Culture Vs Elite Culture : Culture’ is a term which has may connotations cultural is refinement or development of mind tastes, etc. by education, training and experience.‘ Culture’, derives from ‘Cultura’ and ‘colere’ meaning ‘to cultivate’. It also meant ‘to honour’ and ‘project’ by the 19th century in Europe it tastes of the upper class (elite).‘culture’ is the mode of producing meaning and ideas.

Popular Culture Vs Elite Culture

Margaret Mead: “Culture is the learned behaviour of society or a subgroup.”
Clifford Geertz : “Culture is simply ensemble of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Cultural studies is not “a tightly coherent, unified movement of agenda”, but a “loosely coherent group of tendencies, issues and questions”.‘ Cultural Studies’ is a discipline which is interested in the processes by which power relations between and within groups of human beings organizes cultural artefacts and their meanings. ‘Cultural Studies’ is a field of academic study that finds its origin now. It is a study of ‘culture’ or ‘cultures’ and power structure of society. ‘Birmingham centre for contemporary cultural studies’ (BCCCS) in UK is the centre for cultural studies. Critics like Raymond Williams, Richard Hoggart, and later Stuart Hall, Tony Bennett and others made ‘Cultural Studies’ popular.

Thus, culture and cultural elements which made ‘culture’ is an important tool for Cultural Studies. In the 1950s and 1960s a change in focus came about in cultural studies, in analysis. Scholars started taking popular culture seriously. In 1969 the department of popular culture at Bowling Green University (USA) launched the ‘journal of popular culture’.The journal carried essays on Spiderman comics, rock music, amusement parks, the detective movies and other forms of popular culture. It is in popular culture studies that Cultural Studies finds its first movement.

Thus, Cultural Studies looks at mass or popular culture and everyday life. There was a time before 1960s when popular culture was not studied by academies. But Cultural Studies gives importance to popular culture even more than elite culture or elite arts. So, today, study of popular culture and comparison between popular and elite culture is happen widely.

Popular Culture :-

Popular culture is the culture of masses. Popular culture is the set of practices, artefacts and beliefs and shared by the masses. Cultural studies started to study popular culture and now many disciplines including semiotics, rhetoric, literary criticism, film studies, anthropology, history, women’s studies, ethnic studies, and psychoanalytic approaches, critic examine such cultural media as pulp fiction, comic books, television, film advertising, popular music and computer cyber culture. They assess how such factors as ethnicity, race, gender, class region and sexuality are reshaped in popular culture.

There are four main types of popular culture analyses:  Production analysis, textual analysis, audience analysis and historical analysis. These analyses seek to get beneath the surface, denotative meanings, and examine more implicit, connotative social meanings. These approaches view culture as a narrative or story-telling process in which particular texts or cultural artefacts consciously or unconsciously link themselves to larger stories at play in the society. A key here is how texts create subject positions or identities for these who use them.

Sometimes, popular culture creates doubt to elite culture. It can so overtake and repackage a literary work that it is impossible to read the original text without reference to the many layers of popular culture that have developed around it. The popular culture reconstructs a work and can open it to unforeseen new interpretations. So, study of popular culture becomes necessary for cultural studies to know culture in a better way.

Elite culture :-

Elite culture is widely studied by critics. Elite culture can be defined as those “high” cultural forms and institutions that were exclusive to, and a distinguishing characteristic of, modern social elites. It is a term that particularly references the cultural tastes of the established aristocracy, the commercial bourgeoisie, educated bureaucrats and political power breakers, and the professions in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Elite culture is very “high” and “intellectual” culture. It has very closed cultural domains, more omnivorous and not free as popular culture. Elite culture is in very few scales and it has bounded structure. It is sometimes marginalized by popular culture, but it affected on popular culture always.

In easy words we can say that, elite culture means, the literary and artistic culture of educated and wealthy ruling classes. Elite culture is institutionally expressed in universities, academies, coffee houses, libraries and Masonic lodges. These are some ways where elite culture can be recognised. And they become symbols of elite class and elite culture.

The culture of the wealthy minority section of the population was projected as the ‘standard’ or ‘true’ culture. So, academic studies would look at ‘great works of art’ or ‘classical authors’. The taste of the elite culture is also very high and standard. Some examples are classical songs, classical thought provoking intellectual documentary movies, picture and art galleries can be called as examples of elite culture. Thus, greatness, standardisation and intellectuality are important for elite culture.

Popular culture Vs Elite culture: Comparison with example:-

Popular culture is a culture for majority and Elite culture is considered and known as ‘high’ or ‘great’, ‘intellectual’ culture. And popular culture is considered as ‘law’ and ‘mass’ culture. Meanings are governed by power relations and elite culture. Elite culture controls the terms of the debate.

Elite culture, as known as great, is respected by popular culture. But elite culture rejects and insults popular culture. Non-elite views on life and art are rejected as ‘tasteless’, ‘useless’ or even stupid.

Elite culture is of literary and educated wealthy elite group. But popular culture is of common, simple, rural and unliterary people of mass or society. So, elite culture is always expressed in universities, libraries. And popular culture is unwritten and oral. Folklores, fairs and entertaining television serials are examples of popular culture.

Elite culture is always ambiguous and not simple one. But popular culture is very simple and presents human emotions and human life as it is, in a simple, understandable way. For example, classical music, philosophical literature, grammar schools, critical analyses, poetry, encyclopedia are always liked by elites, and they show elite culture, whereas folk music, popular sports, movies, entertainer arts, news papers, novels are examples of popular culture.

Popular culture reflects real mentality, true picture of society. Elite culture reflects highness or greatness of that society. So, if we want to study real society and human nature, we should study popular culture and if we want to study goodness and intellectuality, we should study elite culture.

For example, majority of society does not read the writing of Rabindranath Tagore or Shakespeare’s plays and these are known as respectable arts. But any critic or elite does not study famous novels of contemporary writer seriously as considering these as art and relegating them to the realm of popular culture.

Elite culture is one part of popular culture but elite culture becomes different and separate from popular culture. Majority of popular culture never see or study elite culture but popular culture is a subject of study of elite culture. But after studying popular culture, many times elite culture rejects it as stupidity.

And popular culture always see elite culture as respected though not study it or because they cannot study it. Both the cultures are important for study. Popular culture is the set of beliefs, values and practices that are widely shared. Popular culture is a true reflection of society and elite culture reflects intellectual level and greatness of society very well.

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