The Loss of Culture

I’m sure you remember the news a year or so ago about the closure of libraries? Well now it seems other public cultural spaces are also to suffer with museums and galleries under threat.

Almost a quarter have closed all or part of their sites, most alarmingly perhaps is the hit school services are taking. Many children only go to these places with school; is a new culture-deprived generation going to emerge? What effects will this have? Studies show the more culture a child experiences the better they achieve throughout their school career.

Elias and Scotson (2008) recognised how one group monopolises and uses sources of power to stigmatise others, later applying this to class. The education system shows that the dominant classes’ values are expressed, leaving working-class students at a disadvantage. Bernstein (1973) identified two forms of language, the elaborated code which is context-independent and universal and the restricted code which is context-bound and consists of less complex vocabulary. Whereas middle-class children are well equipped to deal with both, working-class pupils are disadvantaged as they are only accustomed to the restricted code. Therefore, middle-class children are more likely to succeed, leaving the working-classes to be viewed as less intelligent, hence, creating a cycle of inequality due to the social and cultural differences experienced by the classes. However, Bernstein has been criticised for his crude, stereotypical distinctions between the middle and working classes (Rosen, 1974).

Bourdieu argues cultural capital allows one class to hold an advantage in education, stating the dominant culture is misrecognised by the subordinate classes as legitimate; meaning excellence and academic achievement are defined in terms of the dominant cultural paradigm. Therefore, those who receive the appropriate cultural training are most likely to succeed (Jenkins, 2002). Also, Bourdieu and Passeron (1990) claimed the disposition of students to capitalise on their experience and thus succeed depends on the chances attached to the social classes. On the other hand, Halsey et al (1980) criticised Bourdieu since they saw state education as creating cultural capital in those who were from backgrounds which consisted of no formal education, thus suggesting education advocates social mobility rather than reproducing class inequality (Jenkins, 2002).

Already the extent of relevant cultural experiences affects grades since education has a very middle-class atmosphere; so, with the increased limitations on the ability of some to access cultural spaces such as museums and libraries will the gap between middle-class achievement and working-class achievement widen in the years to come?


10 thoughts on “The Loss of Culture

  1. Hey!
    I think the two biggest problem are the media and parental education. The media is feeding today’s youth a certain world view that takes hold of their minds. It’s hard to get rid of that view because they’re fed day by day by day… call it brain washing if you like. So, with the influence of the media teenagers have formed their own culture (facebook, youth language, style of clothing, you name it). This is where they feel fine and everything new is just like a virus in their system because it’s something unknown (Some people won’t eat anything they’ve never seen before. Which is the case here). And sometimes parents support that behavior by either nor caring or already having given up on teaching their children the important aspects of culture. Consequently, there’s only school left to try and save some cultural aspects. But one excursion to a museum can’t really serve the purpose, can it? So, to answer your question if there is a new culture-deprived generation going to emerge? No, because it’s already there. It is just developing further with some bad consequences for museums, theaters etc.
    Well, at least that’s my view on things πŸ™‚

    Best regards,

    • Yes, youth have created their own culture but the thing is that middle class children can switch from that culture to the more formal language used in school whereas the working classes can’t (or at least not as easily).
      I suppose one museum trip might not make that much difference especially if the parents don’t take an interest, but closing parts of sites, or increasing/introducing fees to enter may deter people from going. It may not form a new deprived generation but reducing opportunities to experience culture is certainly not helping things.

  2. This is the first post I have seen written on this subject. It is aweful, it feels like a huge part of our culture is slowly being stripped away.

    Great post, love your writing style!


      • I agree! If you get a chance take a look at my post America: the closing gap. It is regarding the American and World economy and our debt, and how it is affecting middle class Americans.

        Caution: The post might tick you off. I was pretty forward and straight up, especially in the comments section. Economics and politics get me so fired up!

        Have a great day.

        Liz Fruitberry (new username LizEccentric7)

        • I’ll take a look now πŸ™‚ My post in focused on the UK but probably does apply in other countries too (I don’t pretend to know a lot about foreign politics) πŸ˜€

        • I have a question. I love history and have a ton of folowers from England. Some of the followers call it England, and some refer to their country as the “UK.” Could you please tell me when I am commenting is it more appropriate for me to say “England or the UK?” Which one is more cullturally acceptable in your country? I also tend to say England because every history book refers to your country as England here in America.
          This is the answer I found online:

          England is only if you’re talking about England specifically. You use UK and GB if you’re talking about it as a whole, like Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales collectively.

          Is this true above?

    • Yeah, more or less, but it’s only Northern Ireland in the UK, people from the republic of Ireland can get very annoyed if you say they’re from the UK. I used the UK in this case because the policy affects the whole of the UK, not just England. I suppose if they say England you can use that, but if they say UK they might come from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. tbh I don’t usually give it too much thought πŸ˜€
      I’m just as clueless about American states πŸ™‚

Thank you for your comment. I shall endeavour to visit and comment on your blog :D

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