The term dumbing down describes the deliberate diminishment of the intellectual level of the content of schooling and education, of literature and cinema, and ofnews and culture. The idea of and the term dumbing down originated in 1933 as slang, used by motion picture screenplay writers, to mean: "revise so as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence."The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu noted cultural capital as a means of social mobility, which is diminished by the processes of dumbing down.
The occurrences of dumbing down vary in nature, according to the subject matter under discussion and the purpose of the simplifier, but the dumbing-down usually involves the over-simplification of critical thought to the degree of conceptually undermining the intellectual standards of language and of learning of a society; by such simplistic means the writer and the speaker justifies the trivialization of cultural, artistic, and academic standards, as in the case ofpopular culture.
Nonetheless, the term dumbing down is subjective, because what a person considers as a dumbed-down cultural artefact usually depends upon the taste (value judgement) of the reader, the listener, and the viewer. Hence, inDistinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (1979) the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) proposed that, in a society in which the cultural practices of the ruling class are rendered and established as the legitimate culture of that society, that action then devalues the cultural capital of the subordinate social classes, and thus limits their social mobility within their own society.
- 1 Education
- 2 Mass communications media
- 3 In popular culture
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links