The aesthete, the snob, the bumpkin and the dandy

Popular culture, mass culture, legitimate culture, lowbrow culture, entertainment, highbrow culture – all these competing terms seem to assign individuals to a given level in the peculiar hierarchy of human representations that each slot into each other while claiming to be completely autonomous. Might it not be the case that culture is simply a matter of removing oneself from one’s assigned pigeonhole, going off the beaten track of one’s own tastes or those of other people? Culture is a social practice; it draws on sociability, but only takes on its fullest meaning when, like love, it sweeps us away beyond the reach of judgement, towards a redefinition of our identity and sources of enjoyment.