The attempt to analyze the hipster provokes such universal anxiety because it calls everyone’s bluff. And hipsters aren’t the only ones unnerved. Many of us try to justify our privileges by pretending that our superb tastes and intellect prove we deserve them, reflecting our inner superiority. Those below us economically, the reasoning goes, don’t appreciate what we do; similarly, they couldn’t fill our jobs, handle our wealth or survive our difficulties. Of course this is a terrible lie.
The Sociology of the Hipster – Essay – NYTimes.com (NYTimes is behind a subscription wall, so, if you do not have a login and prefer not to register, there is always BugMeNot for disposable logins and passwords).
The article analyzes the hipster phenomenon from the perspective of class theory in the works of French sociologist Pierre Bordieu. Another quote I found interesting:
Taste is not stable and peaceful, but a means of strategy and competition. Those superior in wealth use it to pretend they are superior in spirit. Groups closer in social class who yet draw their status from different sources use taste and its attainments to disdain one another and get a leg up. These conflicts for social dominance through culture are exactly what drive the dynamics within communities whose members are regarded as hipsters.
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