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SOC202H5 (26)
Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Notes

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Phillipa Chong

Grazian, Chapter 7: The rules of the game November 19, 2012  We commonly distinguish between different kinds of culture by relying on labels such as “high” or “low” and associate them with their respective class affiliations o Terms “highbrow” and “lowbrow” are from 19 century pseudoscience of phrenology in which intelligence was measured by the size of one’s forehead o High culture refers to fine arts consume by affluent classes (classical music and opera, ballet and modern dance, abstract painting and sculpture, poetry and literary fiction) o Low culture refers to the kinds of mass culture stereotypically associated with working-class (rap, blues, heavy metal, country, wrestling, car racing)  Associated with sexuality and the lower half of the body  One’s preference for particular styles of fashion, cinema, or other kinds of culture is a social organization of taste, and is complex Invention of Class Cultures in America  Today we think of the plays of Shakespeare to be highbrow but during the 29 th century his plays were considered popular culture for working-class Americans and elites  The biggest reason that Shakespeare’s plays were considered popular culture has to do with the social organization of American entertainment in the 19 century where popular culture was consumed by people from all social classes  The industrial revolution created a new upper-class American elite of successful entrepreneurs, bankers, and businesspeople o Many came from humble backgrounds  This new bourgeoisie began erecting class boundaries concretized in elite arts and cultural organizations and the upper classes of the Gilded Age successfully invented the highbrow/lowbrow class-based cultural distinctions that today we take for granted Class Status and Conspicuous Consumptions  Conspicuous consumption refers to the status displays since they represent attempts to show off one’s wealthy through the flagrant consumption of expensive and luxurious goods and services  Upper class tastes tend to emphasize form over function and quality over quantity Cultural Capital and Class Reproduction  B
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