Sample Sociology Essay Paper on Selected writings on art and literature

Is there any difference between Art and entertainment? Why do certain types of product get classified as ‘high art’ rather than as popular culture? What reasons do people have for consuming ‘high art’? How do they demonstrate their appreciation? How would we recognise something as Art instead of popular culture? How do we distinguish the ‘beautiful’ from the merely agreeable?

In introducing the topic of arts, we first define and look at the meaning. Art is any work of writing, drawing or recording materials in different platforms. This means that an art can be an article such as a book, songs and dances, poems, images and pictures and movies among others.  The list above is not exhaustive because arts cover a wide range of activities. These activities are distinguished by the nature and kind of product made or presented to the public. Culture plays an integral part in shaping art. This essay concentrates on different attributes of arts and its connecting to culture.

There are many differences in regards to art and entertainment. To start with, art is a form of entertainment that involves diverse cultural aspects of a community. These aspects form part and parcel of a people way of living. On the other hand, entertainment is a form of art that tend to focus on the current issues happening in the community. This insinuates that entertainment is susceptible to seasonal changes hence does not represents the real cultural attributes of a society. Another difference is that art goes beyond physical attributes to include deeper social meaning. An example would include a picture of a man carrying a sword. The sword may have different meaning to community to which the picture is addressed to.  

            This is demonstrated by Baudelaire & Charvet who found out that:

            Arts Presupposes a certain understanding of social structure. My views and Suggestion is that forms and styles of art somehow reflect historical events. Thus, art can be considered to be reflective of social happenings of culture (Baudelaire & Charvet, 1992, p. 4).

From the above quote, a person is able to distinguish art from entertainment. This is because of the fact that art is a form of communication that is deeply rooted into a community’s culture. People tend to remembers art more than entertainment that may sometime be limited in terms of cultural diversity.

Some arts are classified as high culture because they demonstrate high level of expertise. This art is authoritative in nature and is applied in different discourse for various purposes. Major cultures are seen to use these arts more often than low cultures hence the work categorised as major culture.  It stands the test of time hence timeliness. Popular culture is a form of art usually influenced and promoted by the mass media. It depicts ideas, attitudes, perspectives and images used by people on daily basis. An example is a new fashion in town, slang or politics in the rise for a certain period of time

            Scruton finds out that:

            Culture is widely intertwined in the arts and information gets from one generation to the other through different forms of art. This is a well brought out through songs and dances………. Communities preserve culture through arts that is well featured in art work (Scruton, 2009, p. 59).

 The articles make a comparison of the advantages of using arts to preserve culture against the disadvantages. It brings out the real issues as pertained to arts. This is a clear demonstration of the prevailing changes in technology.

There are various reasons that people find in consuming high art. One of them includes the issue of authority. High arts originate from intellectual and scholars who are influential in creating aesthetic ideals. The art is not only influential but also academically proven. The second reason is the provision of diverse knowledge and ideas that are aesthetically included in the art hence gives a more comprehensive analysis of the work. This insight is crucial in making and structuring an art of high magnitude. The last reason denotes the perception by the scholars that high art was developed during civilisation period hence presents high thinking capability amongst the artist. They tried to make use of available resource to bring peace amongst the community hence demonstrated intellectual maturity. This was extensively brought out by office in the review (Office, 2015, p. 47).

People demonstrate their appreciation for high art by referencing the work in academic field. The more an article is referred to, the more authoritative it is. Secondly, in cases where the product is for disposal to consumer, it is highly priced and people are willing to get it at the prevailing price despite having alternative art works on the shelf. In addition, having the original meaning and interpretation of the art is highly observed. This is because interpretation and reproduction leads to the loss of aura presented in original work. Associating oneself with the original art creates a feeling of authenticity hence appreciating the work indirectly.

Benjamin, Arendt and Zohn states that:

The greater the share of the shock factor in particular impressions, the more constantly consciousness has to be alert as a screen against stimuli; the more efficiently it does so, the less do these impressions enter experience. (Benjamin, Arendt, & Zohn, 1968, p. 159)

Having a well established relationship is paramount to the establishment of social comfort a person feels internally towards authoritative work. This is the opposite of using sources that are not proven or widely referenced.

Art is different from popular culture as outlined below. First, arts contain a deeper meaning to the audiences.  A person cannot value or estimates the real value of art at a face value. An example would include a traditional song sung during weddings. Despite being used in such occasions, the song may be directed at advising the couple about the vices of engaging in infidelity. Therefore, the song is not just a representation or entertaining piece of work but also an informative piece. Second, arts are cultic in nature and demands for observation of certain practices. This means that a particular style or system is observed through the work. People behave in a certain way in regards to art while popular cultures do not have a formalised or hypothesised behavioural attribute. Third, an art composes or is surrounded by social, political and economic environment. One will be able to draw the effects of these environments on the work. These are just but some of the issues that aides to distinguish art from popular culture.

Distinguishing beautiful from mere agreement is shown through emotional, quality and pleasure attachment. This infers that a mere agreement fall short of these qualities that help define beauty. People attach a lot of emotion towards beauty because of the mare belief that beauty is perfect. A lot of citizens would like to be attached to this perfection hence emotionally connected to the ordeal. Beauty is seen as a standard of quality hence triggers performance by people to improve performance towards quality. Lastly, we have the pleasure achieved through association and application of beauty. In situations where a community puts more emphasis on beauty, the individual living in such a community strive to make the best out of what they have to ensure they measure up to the standard. This gives them the pleasure so that the society can appreciate their efforts (Benjamin, Arendt, & Zohn, 1968, p. 168).

In conclusion, art is something that is highly practised in each and every community in the world.  Generations apply art as a medium of communication where they pass out knowledge and skill to the young generation. The cycle continues from generation to generation. However, modernisation has brought changes into the art industry. Technology has changed the manner in which these activities were being carried out.  Contrary, high art still maintain its authoritative and commanding voice in this industry. People still pays respect and recognise the work of distinguished scholars in various fields who developed or came up with extra ordinary products.


Baudelaire, C., & Charvet, P. E. (1992). Selected writings on art and literature. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Benjamin, W., Arendt, H., & Zohn, H. (1968). Illuminations. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.

Office, A. (2015). Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Arts in 2014. Arts4(1), 23-23. doi:10.3390/arts4010023

Scruton, R. (2009). Beauty. Oxford: Oxford University Press.