Friday, June 30, 2006
Word to your mother. Here's my abstract for this year's CSAA conference. Those who read last year's abstract may notice a little strategic recycling, but fuck it; I didn't get to go to that conference so people can be wowed by my noodlings on hipsters this year instead, providing the paper gets accepted. Plus, there is a fashion workshop organised by Jennifer Craik, which I am pretty excited about because the last time I got to discuss fashion in an academic context was the Making an Appearance conference at UQ in 2003.
Street: Style, Irony and Affect in Hipster CultureWhat do you think? I am kind of pleased with my two hours' work.
In cultural studies, 'street' is a weird touchstone of authenticity: an imagined site of stylistic innovation and political subversion. This paper describes an alternative use of 'street': that of the hipster. In contemporary Western culture, 'hipster' denotes a category of young, inner-urban, hedonistic consumers who ostentatiously (and sometimes professionally) perform cultural capital.
Subcultural theory is ill equipped to describe hipsters because they do not use 'street' as a badge of authenticity and alterity. Rather, they are voracious cultural receptors who shift between mainstream and subcultural fields of production, deploying the rhetoric and aesthetics of 'the street' ironically as pastiche, with little interest in making political statements.
For hipsters, 'street' is an affect; and this paper disrupts Fredric Jameson's apparently commonsensical equation: "irony = lack of affect". Rather, the hipster's ironic deployment of 'street' in dress, social networking and club culture generates a variety of affective registers including the pleasure of feeling 'cool', the humiliation of exclusion and the outrage of moral violation.