On The Relationship Between Intellectual And Elite Cultures Of Information Civilization


The process of formation and development of culture in the transition to information civilization is accompanied by the intellectualization of all spheres of human life. In these conditions, the interconnection and interdependence of informatization and intellectualization of human activity is obvious: new information and communication technologies actualize intellectual activity, and intellectualization contributes to the complexity and improvement of information technologies. These processes are accompanied by the emergence of a new class – the intellectual elite and, as a result, by the emergence of phenomena such as intellectual and elite culture. In the article, the authors attempt to characterize the concepts of “intellectual culture” and “elitist culture”, to analyze the influence of these phenomena on the formation of the culture of a special class: the creative elite – scientists, professionals, creators that provide the intellectual potential of society. The authors study the concept of elitism that underlies the elite culture. As a way of counteracting the dominance of mass culture, a revival of the classical humanitarian model of cognition and unification of culture of the intellectual elite with the national distinctive culture are proposed. As a result, the intellectual elite forms the special consciousness and values of the future generation, acting as a kind of shield, restraining the “onslaught” of the mass mosaic culture of a layman. Of course, there are both supporters and opponents of the opposition and mutual antagonism of these phenomena, therefore, the processes of culture formation – intellectual, elite and mass cultures – are always the subject of sound scientific discussion.

Keywords: Elite cultureelitisminformation civilizationintellectual cultureintellectual elite


The development of human society is entering a new phase, during which the dynamic development of engineering and technology leads to the need to accumulate, analyze, store and transmit vast amounts of information (Ortman & Lobo, 2020; Shin et al., 2020). To organize work with big data, the knowledge of how this process should be carried out is constantly updated, a permanent process of generating and using new knowledge takes place. At the same time, those who work with new knowledge represent the intellectual elite of society, capable, on the one hand, of widespread introduction of new high technology in everyday life, and, on the other hand, of the development of their own culture of a sufficiently high level. Intelligent technologies and ultra-fast communication channels, automation of mental work, organization of a network environment, machine modelling of physical and social processes, the use of a wide range of multimedia and virtual reality systems, the intellectualization of all human activity is a new reality, which leads to the need to study new types of culture of digital civilization.

Problem Statement

The appearance of highly qualified specialists working with big data led to formation of a new social class – the class of intellectuals, accompanied by the emergence of new phenomena of information civilization – intellectual and elite culture, the study of the relationship and interdependence of which is the subject of this article.

Research Questions

3.1. What influences formation of intellectual culture?

3.2. What is the mission of the intellectual elite?

3.3. What is elitism and what are the ways to realize the desire for elitism?

3.4. What is the content of the concept of elitist culture?

3.5. What is the ratio of intellectual and elite cultures during the transition to information civilization?

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study is to clarify the semantic content of “intellectual culture”, “elitist culture” concepts and revealing the correlation between these concepts; the study of factors affecting the strengthening of the intellectual component of culture; consideration of the content of the concept of "elitism"; determining the place of the intellectual elite in the stratification of the information society.

Research Methods

The methodological basis of the study is dialectical logic, which gives an idea of the general laws of development; methods of scientific knowledge, such as analysis, synthesis, generalization; a systematic approach related to the concept of an object as an integrated system, the identification of the diverse types of connections of a complex object and their reduction into a single theoretical picture.


The authors propose to understand intellectual culture as a development of intelligence that enables a person to consciously and purposefully master spiritual values that are not only necessary for their professional work, but also develop their intellect, their spiritual wealth. Intellectual culture constantly stimulates self-education and self-development of an individual, which is especially important at the present stage of development of society (Macklem, 2019; Pushkarev & Pushkareva, 2019, 2020; Siems, 2019; Yerbury & Burridge, 2018).

The task of intellectual culture is the development of a creatively thinking person whose interests are aimed at humanistic goals. It is people who have high intellectual, analytical and creative abilities that form the general culture of society and set the direction for its development. Intellectual culture is also defined as the non-entropic organization of the movement of information plus human creativity, that is, the emancipation of the essential intellectual forces of man (Fowler, 2020; Salov, 1994), which does not contradict the general definition of culture. The strengthening of the intellectual component of culture is primarily affected by such factors as:

The development of intellectual culture is impossible without the emergence of a new class of intellectuals, “representatives of which at the political level act as consultants, experts or technocrats” (Bell, 1999, p. 124), have high professional qualities, creative abilities, readiness for training and retraining. The technological information space of modern society has a number of characteristic features that affect the formation of the intellectual culture of a person:

Intellectual culture, by its nature, is an elitist culture inherent in a certain group of people with high positions in the status hierarchy of social stratification.

Representatives of the intellectual elite are, as a rule, subjects of a high, elitist culture that concentrates the spiritual, intellectual and artistic experience of generations. The first analysis of elitist culture was presented in the works of the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset “Dehumanization of Art” (Ortega y Gasset, 2008) and “Rise of the Masses” (J. Ortega y Gasset, 2005). In a "mass society", the researcher sees a way to preserve spiritual values through the development of a culture of the gifted minority of the aristocratic elite, opposing the gray crowd of ordinary people. J. Ortega y Gasset can surely be considered a theorist of the elite. He emphasizes the importance of the creative elite as the bearer of an elitist culture that makes up the smaller, but the better part of society. One can define the elite culture as a culture of the intellectual elite, creating new ideals, values and meanings.

The subjects of elitist culture are both its creators and recipients. Therefore, the authors emphasize the concept of elitism – the orientation of the subject on the implementation of paths to achieve ideals and values in the process of finding the meaning of their work and life. True elitism is manifested through the service of the ideals of good, justice and truth (creative, heroic, extraordinary life). The following ways of realizing the desire for elitism can be distinguished:

In the transition to a society in which intellectual work occupies a central position in the structure of employment, elitism as the desire of a developing individual to achieve certain ideals of his development, can become an integrating system concept that forms a special whole, the core of which is a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Elitism is a value-moral concept. A worldview as a general system of world views forms value orientations that form the foundation of human actions and contribute to successful self-realization. An elitist ideal must become personally significant, so that a person can effectively build strategies for achieving this ideal. The process of constantly clarifying the ways to achieve an elitist ideal, overcoming a number of difficulties, both external and internal, tempers the person-creator, making him truly happy. A sense of self-worth, a sense of elitism, as noted by A. Adler (1986), is considered the most important life and professional meaning of activity. In the case of genuine elitism, the external symbols of recognition of the human creator are not as important as the creative process itself, which, being the main meaning of life, creates the basis of one's own significance, feelings of pride and a sense of being chosen. As Adler (1986) emphasizes, “every person strives to become significant”, focusing on the highest ideals of creativity, dignity, kindness and beauty (p. 132). The elite groups of intellectuals are not organized, are not consolidated, but are communities of individual scientists, intellectuals, and professionals with a high level of competence that provide the intellectual potential of society.

Gifted people, intellectuals, creators are confronted by a person of the "masses", a layman, a man with zero passionarity. The man of the "masses" is a representative of the so-called "mass society", whose appearance is associated with industrial society. Researchers of this phenomenon believed that a person of “the masses” is an average person, mediocrity, as a rule, quite prosperous, striving for comfort and tranquility, cultivating the cult of ignorance (Ortega y Gasset, 2005). The human culture of the “masses” is formed mainly under the influence of mass media, in particular television, the Internet (Lang & Lang, 2009; McDonald, 1953; Orochovska & Abysova, 2016; Petrov, 2019). It is of the so-called mosaic nature, when fragments of knowledge that are in no way ordered, systematized and integrated into a single picture of the world are snatched from a stream of scattered messages. The “screen” of knowledge, formed from fragments of knowledge, does not possess cohesive strength and, therefore, sufficient density. This phenomenon was called the “mosaic culture” and was studied in detail by the French scientist A. Moles (Moles, 1994) and the modern sociologist Kara-Murza (2000). The main purpose of the mosaic culture is to develop stereotypes of mass consciousness in the so-called "majority" with a fairly low level of intelligence. Television and the Internet, shaping the ideas and views of the person “of the masses”, create the foundation of a mosaic culture – convenient for manipulating consciousness on the part of power structures.

So, McLuhan (2007) assigns such a significant role to mass communication that it has complete power over a person, establishing the primacy of the general and the mass. And this is in the 60s of the XX century, when there was no Internet yet. With the advent of social services on the global Internet, the mosaic culture in its virtual form is rapidly expanding. The nature of Russian mass culture also depends on the crisis situation in the education system and in the entire sphere of spiritual life (Bolokova, 2016). Representatives of the intellectual elite who are the bearers of an elite culture are passionaries, people with high creative potential who are distinguished by spiritual aristocracy. Curious is the idea of R. Slaughter about the need to form a “forward-looking culture,” a qualitatively new collective ability for long-term thinking, long-term forecasting (Slaughter, 1996). Among the tasks, the solution of which ensures the future of mankind, the task of shaping social consciousness, based on understanding the meaning of social history, the main content, laws, orientation and obligations of the cultural process, is highlighted. One thing is indisputable: without the formation of that type of reflection of humanity, which includes an understanding of the meaning and logic of its historical movement, without ensuring the spread of this reflection in the consciousness of the intellectual elite and the mass consciousness through special social institutions, without such participation of the carriers of the new consciousness in creating social reality – further evolution human nature is impossible (Chemielewski, 2020; Titov et al., 2020; Yudina, 2020). It should be noted that from the point of view of the historical aspect, it was the elite culture that emerged as the antithesis of the mass, and not vice versa. Elite culture, as an international culture, is often opposed to national culture. The authors do not share this point of view, since the national culture certainly carries within itself elements of elitism, since it is precisely it that is created not by the ethnic group as a whole, but by the best representatives of people in creative professions. National culture should not be confused with ethnic (folk) culture, which manifests itself in customs and traditions, is fixed by morality and laws, is based on the experience and wisdom of the people (Giampietro & Funtowiczc, 2020). National culture can be formed initially as a “national idea” in the heads of highly educated representatives of the nation – this is where its elitist character manifests itself and turns into a system of spiritual values of the nation in the process of historical development, which are realized in traditions and fixed in the language.


The priority position of knowledge in building an information civilization emphasizes precisely the intellectual component of the elite culture, which is entrusted with the mission to restrain the "onslaught" of the mass mosaic culture imposed by the means of mass communication.

It is possible to resist the expansion of the mosaic mass culture’s influence zone by reviving the classical humanitarian culture, which is based on cognition methods that use logical deduction and formal reasoning techniques when moving from one knowledge node to another.

Only the intellectuals can solve this problem – the intellectual elite, which is emerging along with the information civilization and ensures the progress of social development. The main purpose of the intellectual elite is accumulation and generation of knowledge and intelligence, as well as morality and spirituality. From the point of view of developing the cultural horizons of a comprehensively developed personality, unification of an elite intellectual culture and a national distinctive culture is fructuous. Such an association, in our opinion, is capable of creating scenarios of social movement, worldviews and value system.


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Salova, T., & Fikhtner, O. (2021). On The Relationship Between Intellectual And Elite Cultures Of Information Civilization. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 779-785). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.99