ABSTRACT

The coverage of Jean-Paul Sartre's death in Le Monde is extensive and respectful, but there are clearly aspects of popularization of traditional legitimate culture, in both content and, especially, format. The Sartre case is a good example of the capability of culture sections to transform when needed; in particular, Le Monde's huge section on the topic shows the flexibility and potential for almost endless expansion of culture sections. In the 2000s, journalistification and popularization of both the topics of cultural coverage and the ways of writing about them were moulding the institution of culture sections (and the culture departments of newspapers) as something new and different. The transformation of cultural hierarchies characterized by the rise and legitimization of popular culture and the decline and popularization of highbrow arts is accompanied by cultural globalization, commercialization and the changing nature of the culture/politics link – all additional dimensions of the transformation.