For more than 40 years, through the study on cultural practices, we have been exclusively interested in the behaviors of the French and not in the meanings they give to their practice, to the experience of reading a book, of visiting a museum… Today, the time has come to be interested in the representations they associate with these practices. Moreover, we have always had doubts about the meaning that respondents give to the words they are asked in the context of the study on cultural practices. This survey is carried out by questionnaire and its results are based on declarative answers.

Representations of culture in the French population

What does the term culture cover in the minds of the French, what are the spontaneous representations associated with it and to what registers do they refer? To find out, and in view of the renewal of the ten-yearly survey on the cultural practices of the French carried out since 1970 by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Department of Studies, Forecasting and Statistics conducted a study on the representations and values associated with culture among a sample of 1,500 people representative of the French population.

This video can explain it :

Four main types of conception of culture emerge: cultural liberalism everything is cultural, critical eclecticism everything is potentially cultural, according to certain criteria, classicism the cultural field is not extensible and the protest attitude the real culture is elsewhere. If young people aged 15-24 willingly include in culture modes of expression and forms of media culture, and women a greater number of contents and activities than men, one observes globally a weak influence of the variables that historically determine cultural participation, in particular social origin. It is as if a common representation of culture, quite extensive, had been imposed and crossed all social groups.

A very large majority of French people approve of all public actions that facilitate access to culture and in particular everything that is done for children

Absolutely, and particularly artistic and cultural education, which is voted as one of the most obvious and consensual ministerial policies. This result on cultural mediation is not without a certain frustration. People today no longer perceive culture in the way they were supposed to see it in the past – as something very intimidating, reserved for certain people. They have a very positive image of it. Nevertheless, the French are perfectly aware of the inequalities of access to knowledge.

This is probably the reason why a very large majority of them approve of all public actions that facilitate access to culture and in particular everything that is done for children. Let’s make a success of artistic and cultural education for the young generations before moving on to the whole population.

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