Cultural Hierarchy

Cultural Hierarchies – Rachael Miles


A cultural hierarchy is an institutional framework which is based on clearly defined levels and structures. An institution can be described as ‘hierarchical’ when elements within the structure are ranked according to levels of importance.

This lecture will focus particularity on institutions such as museums, contemporary viewing galleries and publishing houses, with specific focus on how these exert influence over the production, acquisition and dissemination of artefacts.

This lecture will consider ‘distinction’ as a mechanism by which culture is generated. The job will then to be to gauge how these institutions may generate advantage and disadvantage within social structures.

Suggested reading:

Barton upright, C. (2004) Social capital and cultural participation: spousal influences on attendance at art events’. Poetics 32, pp. 129-143.

Bourdieu, P. (2000) Distinction. London, Sage.

Foucault, M. (1977) ‘ Panopticism’ in Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison. London: Penguin, pp. 195-228.

Mittell, J. (2010) ‘Audiences talking genre: Television talk shows and cultural hierarchies’. Journal of popular film and television, 31, pp. 36-46.