What Constitutes ' High ' And ' Low ' Culture Essay

810 Words Aug 27th, 2015 4 Pages
The definition of what constitutes ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture has been a point of contention for many years, not just among cultural theorists but among individuals. When one attempts to define these terms, they’re met with a range of difficulties; things like context and cultural hegemony need to be considered. With public and illegal art practices as reference points, the concepts of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture and whether they’re culturally constructed will be explored.
Context plays a very large part in determining whether something is considered ‘high’ or ‘low’ culture. In a study based in the Papua New Guinean village of Gapun, it was discovered, through the villagers’ interpretation of a Rambo film, that no text has a one universal meaning (Kulick & Willson, 1994). This concept is relevant beyond juxtaposed cultures; it applies to texts within the same overarching cultural context. There are many variables that help form the cultural meaning of something, meaning that seemingly everyone in certain contexts seem to understand. This finding can be applied to the simple act of ‘getting a coffee’. Who gets coffee (students, teachers, construction workers) and in which social context (dating, breaks from work, interviews) can mean a plethora of different things despite the act itself being consistent (O’Brien & Szeman, 2004).
The way in which this concept interacts with art (within a U.S centric society) is almost identical. The classic WWWWWH acronym is useful for analysing…

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