"Low culture" is a derogatory term for forms of popular culture that have mass appeal. Its contrast is "high culture", which can also be derogatory. It has been said by culture theorists that both high culture and low culture are subcultures. Popular culture is mass produced by the what has been called by culture analyst Theodor Adorno the "culture industry".

Standards and definitions of low culture

In his book ''Popular Culture and High Culture'', Herbert J. Gans gives a definition of how to identify and create low culture:

Culture as class

Herbert Gans states in his book ''Popular Culture and High Culture'' that the different classes of culture are linked correspondingly to socio-economic and educational classes. For any given socio-economic class, there is a culture for that class. Hence the terms high and low culture and the manifestation of those terms as they appeal to their respective constituents.

Mass media


All cultural products (especially high culture) have a certain demographic to which they appeal most. Low culture appeals to very simple and basic human needs plus offers a perceived return to innocence, the escape from real world problems, or the experience of living vicariously through viewing someone else’s life on television.


Low culture can be formulaic, employing trope conventions, stock characters and character archetypes in a manner that can be perceived as more simplistic, crude, emotive, unbalanced, or blunt compared to high culture's implementations—which may be perceived as more subtle, balanced, or refined and open for interpretations.

See also


{{culture Category:Popular culture Category:Culture Category:Mass media Category:Social class subcultures Category:Working-class culture