Thursday, December 20, 2007

Death to the Art Snob

The notion of a cultural elite is a thing of the past, a myth, says new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Researchers found little evidence of a ‘cultural elite’ that aspires to ‘high culture’, while turning its back on popular culture.

The research, carried out by the University of Oxford, looked at survey data from around the world. Findings confirmed that a cultural-elite, linked to social class, does not exist in society.

What's the single most powerful indicators that someone will consume large amounts of culture? The study says, "It’s education and social status, not social class that predict cultural consumption."

The study sheds light on the cultural consumer as an international phenomenon and breaks down cultural consumers into the following groups:
Univores: people who have an interest in popular culture only
Ominvores: people who consume the full variety of different types of culture
Paucivores: people who consume a limited range of cultural activities
Inactives: people who access nothing at all.

“There’s little evidence for the existence of a cultural elite who would consume ‘high’ culture while shunning more ‘popular’ cultural forms,” said Doctor Tak Wing Chan, “Furthermore, at least a substantial minority of members of the most advantaged social groups are univores or inactives.”


accounts said...

The study itself, particularly with its comments about the "lower classes", seems to be an indication that the snobs are alive and well. How in the world is a canned study supposed to tell us anything about the real world? I suppose, then, that all the North Shore residents (north of Chicago) that I used to cater parties for just stopped existing? No more art snobs? Ridiculous.

Patricia Martin said...

Didn't do the research, just reporting it. Marketers used to consider the cultural consumer to be 2% of the entire poulation w/incomes above $100K. The market has exploded! This study is saying that people who like the traditional forms, also tend to like pop culture, too. And that income is not the common identifier of a cultural consumer--education is!