High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture, or denoting the culture of ruling social groups.  Culturally elites defined by: - Literacy - the acceptance of counter reformation religious practices - going to secondary school - attendance at university - access to the classical texts and the humanities - the possession of a library - the frequenting of specialist groups - An essential element is the humanist culture from the renaissance, with its revival of the classics, popularisation of them, and their wide dissemination by the printing press
Other aspects of elite culture… - the rise of judicial society - the civilising process promoted by courtly culture - change in linguistic culture - a great cultural fear of the poor
"Our work has shown that it's education and social status, not social class that predict cultural consumption in the UK, and broadly comparable results were obtained from other countries in our project too."
Using terms more familiar to those studying the animal kingdom and, in particular, the eating habits of animals, the researchers identified several different types of groups in society that 'consume' culture.
* Univores - people who have an interest in popular culture only * Ominvores - people who consume the full variety of different types of culture * Paucivores - people who consume a limited range of cultural activities * Inactives - people who access nothing at all.
In the UK, it turned out that the consumption of culture is very clearly patterned:
* For theatre, dance and cinema, two types of consumer were identified - univores (62.5% of the sample) and omnivores (37.5%). * For music, three types were identified - univores (65.7% of the sample), omnivore listeners only (24%) and omnivores (10.3%). * For the visual arts for example, art galleries, festivals, video art presentations, again three types were identified - inactives (58.6% of the sample), paucivores (34.4%) and omnivores (7%).
"There's little evidence for the existence of a cultural elite who would consume 'high' culture while shunning more 'popular' cultural forms," said Doctor Tak Wing Chan, "Furthermore, at least a substantial minority of members of the most advantaged social groups are univores or inactives."