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  1. #11
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    What I'm questioning is why we place higher value on some forms of culture while dismissing others as inferior. I understand where you're coming from, because sometimes I feel the same way, but isn't that a kind of an elitist attitude? Everyone's experience is different. If people prefer sweet sparkly wine rather than the more mature and delicate good wines, is it fair to judge them? If they identify more with Beyonce's music rather than Mozart's, is it fair to judge them? Culture is culture; art is art. I like to believe there is no high or low, because the effect of art is entirely individual.

    Well said. Not to mention that people use "high culture" to discredit other people. Refined taste is partly just a way to maintain and in-group.

  2. #12
    FigerPuppet
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    Let me provide a foundation on which you guys can continue the discussion, since none of you have bothered to do so yourselves (High Culture - Wikipedia):
    In the Western tradition high culture has historical origins in the intellectual and aesthetic ideals of ancient Greece and Rome. Within this classical ideal certain authors and their modes of language were held up as models of an elevated style and good form as for instance the Attic dialect of ancient Greek associated with the great philosophers and dramatists of Periclean Athens, or Ciceronian Latin. Later, especially during the Renaissance, these values were deeply imbibed by the cultural upper classes, and (as evinced in works like The Courtier by Baldasare Castiglione) knowledge of the classics became part of the aristocratic ideal. Over time, the refined classicism of the Renaissance was expanded to embrace a broader canon of authors in the modern languages that included figures such as Shakespeare, Goethe, and Cervantes.

    For centuries an immersion in high culture was deemed an essential part of the proper education of the gentleman, and this ideal was transmitted through high-status schools and institutions throughout Europe and the United States. As it has evolved, Western notions of high culture have been associated at various times with: The study of "humane letters" especially the Greek and Latin classics and more broadly all works considered to be part of "the canon"; the cultivation of refined etiquette and manners; an appreciation of the fine arts - especially sculpture and painting; a knowledge of such literature, drama, and poetry considered to be of high caliber; enjoyment of European classical music and opera; religion and theology often with a special focus on Europe's predominantly Christian tradition; rhetoric and politics; the study of philosophy and history; a taste for gourmet cuisine and wine; being well traveled and especially "The Grand Tour of Europe"; certain sports associated with the upper classes, such as polo, equestrianism, fencing, and yachting.

    High culture and its relation to mass culture have been, in different ways, a central concern of much theoretical work in cultural studies, critical theory, media studies and sociology, as well as in postmodernism and in many strands of Marxist thought. It was especially central to the concerns of Walter Benjamin, whose 1935/36 essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction has been highly influential, as has the work of Theodor Adorno. Gramscianism can see ruling class culture as "an instrument of social control".[13]

    High culture also became an important concept in political theory on nationalism for writers such as Ernest Renan and Ernest Gellner, who saw it as a necessary component of a healthy national identity. Gellner's concept of a high culture extended beyond the arts; he defined it in Nations and Nationalism (1983) as: "...a literate codified culture which permits context-free communication". This is a distinction between different cultures, rather than within a culture, contrasting high with simpler, agrarian low cultures.

    Pierre Bourdieu's book: La Distinction (English translation: Distinction - A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste) (1979) is a study influential in sociology of another much broader, class-based, definition of high culture, or "taste", which includes etiquette, appreciation of fine food and wine, and even military service, but also references different social codes supposedly observed in the dominant class, and that are not accessible to the lower classes. This partly reflects a French conception of the term which is different from the more serious-minded Anglo-German concept of Arnold, Benjamin, Leavis or Bloom. Bourdieu introduced the concept of cultural capital, knowledge and habits acquired by a dominant class upbringing that his surveys in post-war France found led to increased relative social and economic success despite a supposedly egalitarian educational system.
    The paper Mole is referencing must also have explained what they meant by high culture, so it would be even better if he could post those paragraphs since it is the conclusions of that specific paper you're discussing. Of course that won't be possible if all you have access to is the abstract.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    What I'm questioning is why we place higher value on some forms of culture while dismissing others as inferior.
    Well, I love both high and low culture, but he stated the reason directly in his OP: high culture breeds empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, while low culture does not. Of course, then he goes on to make the idiotic assertion, not at all supported by the paper in the OP, that Jungian psychology is low culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    I understand where you're coming from, because sometimes I feel the same way, but isn't that a kind of an elitist attitude?
    And?

    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    Everyone's experience is different. If people prefer sweet sparkly wine rather than the more mature and delicate good wines, is it fair to judge them? If they identify more with Beyonce's music rather than Mozart's, is it fair to judge them? Culture is culture; art is art. I like to believe there is no high or low, because the effect of art is entirely individual.
    If the world had more people who appreciated Mozart and the more mature and delicate good wines, I think it would be a better place.

    I can't really say the same for Beyonce and the sweet sparkly.

    (Which is not to say that I can't, won't, or don't appreciate Beyonce or a sweet sparkly wine)

  4. #14
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Well, I love both high and low culture, but he stated the reason directly in his OP: high culture breeds empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, while low culture does not. Of course, then he goes on to make the idiotic assertion, not at all supported by the paper in the OP, that Jungian psychology is low culture.



    And?



    If the world had more people who appreciated Mozart and the more mature and delicate good wines, I think it would be a better place.

    I can't really say the same for Beyonce and the sweet sparkly.

    (Which is not to say that I can't, won't, or don't appreciate Beyonce or a sweet sparkly wine)

    What exactly does appreciation for "better" wine cultivate in a person besides snobbery?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    What exactly does appreciation for "better" wine cultivate in a person besides snobbery?
    Well, honestly, I don't give a shit much about good wines. I was just going with the examples she gave.

    (Although, I do think one could cultivate an appreciation for good wines, and if, with that, there comes a desire to understand the history of wine, the process of making wine, the different kinds of wine, where they come from, what makes one wine better or worse than another, etc, that, done the right way, this could cultivate all kinds of good things)

    High literature and music, tho: I do think those cultivate more than low literature and music.

    Literature probably moreso than music.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Well, honestly, I don't give a shit much about good wines. I was just going with the examples she gave.

    (Although, I do think one could cultivate an appreciation for good wines, and if, with that, there comes a desire to understand the history of wine, the process of making wine, the different kinds of wine, where they come from, what makes one wine better or worse than another, etc, that, done the right way, this could cultivate all kinds of good things)

    High literature and music, tho: I do think those cultivate more than low literature and music.

    Literature probably moreso than music.
    I don't disagree that an appreciation for craftsman ship is good. Or that there are musical complexities in Mozart that are missing from say Kesha.

    But on the other hand I think there also something to say for preferences. Just because someone understands musical complexity doesn't mean yet enjoy it. They might value the exuberance they find in say folk music, more. So while I agree that more complex ideas in high culture are valuable I don't agree with describing them as good and low culture is bad. I think there are about embracing different things and either one can be used properly or improperly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    I don't disagree that an appreciation for craftsman ship is good. Or that there are musical complexities in Mozart that are missing from say Kesha.

    But on the other hand I think there also something to say for preferences. Just because someone understands musical complexity doesn't mean yet enjoy it. They might value the exuberance they find in say folk music, more. So while I agree that more complex ideas in high culture are valuable I don't agree with describing them as good and low culture is bad. I think there are about embracing different things and either one can be used properly or improperly.
    And I don't think what you've said has anything to do with what I've said, nor with the OP.

    The OP stated that a scientific report recently concluded that high culture increases empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, while low culture does not. I have not read this report, but I do believe high culture cultivates positive qualities far more readily than low culture -- while appreciating much of what low culture has to offer, and believing that some "low culture" is almost, in essence, high culture -- and that, as such, the world would probably be a better place if more people appreciated Mozart and Shakespeare, while the same cannot be said for Beyonce and People magazine.

  8. #18
    Stansmith
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    I think it's best to just take the best out of culture in general, instead of restricting yourself to one or the other. There's value in both.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stansmith View Post
    I think it's best to just take the best out of culture in general, instead of restricting yourself to one or the other. There's value in both.
    Agreed.

  10. #20
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    What exactly does appreciation for "better" wine cultivate in a person besides snobbery?
    If people buy better wine then traditional, smaller, historical winemakers earn more money and can keep their business going, which benefits the whole rural area (ftr I'm Italian so in the US it might be different). Plus, better wine is often just much better for your health (no sulfites etc.).
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