Since as early as the eighteenth century the government has played a large role in both
providing and restricting cultural access to the public (Study Guide 2007, p. ). In effect the
government policies on culture and funding of arts is essentially a policy on cultural
censorship. This essay will explain the outcomes of governmental strategies which take
culture as both an instrument and object. In order to facilitate this explanation the concept
and definitions of culture and cultural censorship will be discussed. Two case studies will
also be discussed to draw comparrisons between the cultural policy of government in the
eighteenth century and the contemporary cultural policy used today.
In a broad sense culture can be defined as “encompassing all systems of though, belief and
values; all traditions and rituals; and all forms of aesthetic and artistic activity irrespective of
the statuses which these enjoy in society” (Study Guide, 2007, p. 112). Within this broad
sense we can see that its inclusive nature suggests that the music produced by both Mozart
and ACDC hold the same cultural value (Study Guide 2007, p.112). The idea of ‘low culture’
and ‘high culture’ is not relevant within this definition.
The narrow definition of culture is defined as including “specific kinds of intellectual and
aesthetic activity - usually those which are conventionally regarded as belonging to the high
intellectual and artistic culture of the society concerned” (Study Guide 2007, p.112). In this
narrow concept of culture the music produced by Mozart would be considered to be a
superior art form to that of the music produced by ACDC (Study Guide 2007, p.112). The
popular music of ACDC would be considered a form of ‘low culture’.
The distinction between classes is still present in contemporary society. In order to
understand and consume any particular art form the participant must first obtain the
knowledge required to ‘decode’ it (Bordieu 1986, p.1). The...