The Sociology of Taste and the Modern Hipster

Topics: Middle class, Working class, Sociology Pages: 1 (572 words) Published: November 4, 2014

Reading Response #3 – “The Hipster in the Mirror”
In “The Hipster in the Mirror,” the author presents the notion that hipsters use taste to obtain social currency. Hipsters, these seemingly trendy leaders in what is cool, are motivated by their superior taste. The article claims that there is three distinct types of hipsters: college educated upper middle class types, wealthy hipsters, and couch surfers. The differences seem to exist due to the nature of taste for hipsters. Rather than “stable and peaceful,” taste is much more competitive amongst the different hipster groups. With taste, they are able to get ahead, generate social currency, and possibly compensate for something—such as economic immobility. But, taste is exactly what keeps the word “hipster” offensive to the hipster. If one believes that their taste should make them superior (and thus is their primary currency), then simply discrediting their taste for going against the norm may drive them away from the label. The article defines taste in a certain fashion. Taste, according to the author, is the mainly the result of “social logic,” rather than strictly defined by social class. The point is made I the article that even wealthy people may be defined as hipsters, but their taste derives from monetary currency exchanged for social currency. Although the concept of taste is arbitrary to an extent, it plays a major role in allowing an individual to express who they are and more specifically whom they associate with. The author also challenges his own definition of taste in the context of hipsters. He claims that three groups of hipsters exist based o their social class—the poor, lower class, couch surfer, the middle class, college educated hipster, and the wealthy hipster who uses money to obtain a “nose for culture.” To an extent, taste does define which social class these people belong to. Sociologically speaking, taste in the context of hipsters is interesting. The hipster is expected to be on the...
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