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high culture

Definition of High Culture

(noun) Cultural aspects (material and nonmaterial) considered superior and typically associated with and consumed by the elites of society: the well-educated or wealthy.

Examples of High Culture

High Culture Pronunciation

  • IPA Pronunciation
    • American English
      • /haɪ ˈkəltʃər/
    • British English
      • /hʌɪ ˈkʌltʃə/
  • Syllabification: (high cul·ture)

Usage Notes

  • Plural: high cultures
  • High culture typically requires education or training to develop a sophisticated appreciation.
  • High culture is produced by a highly skilled labor force.
  • High culture is derived from “highbrow“. The term is related to phrenology, a pseudoscience that contended personality was determined by the measurement of the bumps on human skulls.
  • A type of culture.
  • High culture is contrasted to low culture.

Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of High Culture

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “high culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved October 16, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/high-culture/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

high culture. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/high-culture/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “high culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/high-culture/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“high culture.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/high-culture/>.