Scholars have used a variety of labels to describe broad social and cultural changes characteristic of Western societies since the 1950s, such as postmodernism, consumerism, individualization, and globalization, to name only a few. Accompanying such broad changes, scholars also contend that traditional cultural hierarchies (i.e. “high culture”) have been eroded by the “massification of elite culture” (Lash 1990), as well as through declining cohesiveness among elites (DiMaggio 1991, 1992) and increasing eclecticism in their cultural preferences (Peterson and Kern 1996). Meanwhile, the concomitant commercialization of cultural fields, including those that deal in high culture (e.g. symphony orchestras), has been associated with factors ranging from the growing market orientation of arts professionals (Peterson 1986; DiMaggio 1986, 1991) to the rise of consumption practices as a source of individual and collective identity (Featherstone 1991, Zukin and Maguire 2004). In addition to declining hierarchy and commercialization of the arts, others point to the rapid expansion in the volume and variety of cultural goods available in the global marketplace, which has intensified and destabilized global cultural flows (Appadurai 1996; Tomlinson 1999).

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), Faculty of History and Arts (EUR)
M.S.S.E. Janssen (Susanne) , T.J. Dowd (Timothy)
Erasmus University Rotterdam , ERMeCC, Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture, Rotterdam
ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Schmutz, V. (2009, December 3). The Classification and Consecration of Popular Music: Critical Discourse and Cultural Hierarchies. ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture. Retrieved from