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Communications & Media
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The Skyscraper Model of Culture (Essay Sample)


For this assignment, you are asked to make an argument for or against the cultural value of some of the media products presented in the bottom half of the Skyscraper model of culture. What would you place at the top, middle and bottom of the skyscraper? Why? What can we learn from popular culture? Use the five steps of the Critical Process as a guide.
Critical process papers should be written as a formal paper with an introduction, clear thesis statement, body paragraphs discussing the topic, and a strong conclusion. I'm interested in reading about what you have to say about the topic, so don't rely too heavily on outside sources. If you do choose to quote an outside source, make sure to include an in-text citation and full citation at the end of the paper. MLA or APA format should be used for the paper. For more information about proper formatting, please visit the Purdue OWL online resource: Link (Links to an external site.).
Critical process papers should be double spaced, 10-12 point font, and 4-5 pages in length.



The Skyscraper Model of Culture

Viewers around the globe have different preferences when it comes to media and culture. Some individuals might prefer classical literature, while others opt for television series and gaming. Though the media is presented through various cultures, the common forms of culture are categorized using the skyscraper model. The model acts as a scale to gauge how viewers measure up in the media arena. Through this model, culture is depicted as a hierarchy with ballet, hamlet, and National Gallery of Art presented at the top of the skyscraper, while wrestling and gaming are presented at the bottom of the skyscraper. The categorization of cultures using the model can be useful for media and entertainment companies since it helps to identify which cultures are most influential on viewers. Nonetheless, the decision as to whether a certain show should be included in the lower culture or high culture is subject to discussion since the media is experiencing constant changes. The choice as to whether a show should be high or low culture seems to get more blurry, which raises the question as to whether a program or game should be included in the higher or lower part of the skyscraper. As a result, given a chance, I would not categorize media culture using the skyscraper model since it undermines other forms of media, which might prove more useful in terms of passing intellectual knowledge and entertainment.

The skyscraper model is limited by its application of value judgments. Due to its rigid categorization of media, the audience is limited to the shows that have been given a spot at the top of the skyscraper. Resultantly, the media that is at the bottom of the skyscraper get fewer viewership and eventually gain a poor reputation. Instead of the audience choosing the show that they enjoy the most, the model encourages a selective form of viewership, which automatically influences the consumer’s choice of media. The model acts as a tool to brainwash viewers into steering clear of certain forms of media because they are considered to be less popular.

The model also limits the viewers to the vast amount of information offered by the media, and eventually, viewers fail to experience the benefits associated with the availability of the vast amount of information that is offered. The model places the New York Times and National Gallery of Art at the top of the skyscraper. However, these forms of media might not appeal to a large number of viewers, but since they are categorized at the top, viewers will feel obliged to watch such media. Nonetheless, it is common for individuals to have a skew of cultural interests (Romano 3). Most viewers enjoy switching different channels and watching a variety of media rather than constantly watching the same type. This wide skew can be linked to the broadened social knowledge that is available in the current society. The internet has allowed for individuals to easily share interests online and influence other people’s opinions and perceptions on certain media and cultures. Resultantly, a maj

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