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What Was The Hipster?: A Sociological Investigation [Paperback]

n+1 , Mark Greif , Christian Lorentzen , Jace Clayton , Reid Pillifant , Rob Horning , Jennifer Baumgardner , Patrice Evans , Margo Jefferson , Rob Moor , Christopher Glazek , Dayna Tortorici
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 15, 2010 0982597711 978-0982597712
Who was the turn-of-the-century hipster? Who is free enough of the hipster taint to write its history without contempt or nostalgia? Why do we want to declare the neo-hipster moment over, when the hipster's "global brand" has just reached apotheosis?

A panel of writers invited the public to join an investigation into the rise and fall of the contemporary hipster. Their debate took place at the New School University in New York City.

In addition to the panel transcript, the book includes responses from critics Jennifer Baumgardner, Patrice Evans aka The Assimilated Negro, and Margo Jefferson, as well as essays on douchebags, Hasidism versus hipsters, the Hipster Feminine, and the sneaker shop Alife Rivington.


Frequently Bought Together

What Was The Hipster?: A Sociological Investigation + The Hipster Effect: How the Rising Tide of Individuality is Changing Everything We Know about Life, Work and the Pursuit of Happiness + The Hipster Handbook
Price for all three: $27.98

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: n+1 Foundation (October 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982597711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982597712
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

n+1 is a Brooklyn-based magazine of literature, culture, and politics published three times yearly. It was founded in 2004 by Keith Gessen (All the Sad Literary Young Men), Mark Greif, Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding), Benjamin Kunkel (Indecision), and Marco Roth and immediately attracted attention in New York and beyond. A. O. Scott described it in the New York Times Magazine as part of "a generational struggle against laziness and cynicism"; German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote, "they intend nothing less than to reimagine and reestablish the world."

Since its founding, n+1 has published Elif Batuman's remarkable first essays (later collected in The Possessed), Mark Greif's classic essays "Against Exercise," "On Radiohead," and "Afternoon of the Sex Children," excerpts from Helen DeWitt's latest novels (most recently Lightning Rods), and other memorable pieces. Each issue is about the length of a novel (200 pages), and features criticism, memoirs, fiction, reviews, and political essays. We also publish small books (most notably What Was the Hipster?) and at Amazon have made Kindle editions of all our publications and Kindle Singles of individual pieces available.

Our fall issue, "Conversion Experience," features a report from the Gathering of the Juggalos, an essay by Mark Greif on Stanley Cavell as a philosopher and teacher, an excerpt from Helen DeWitt's new novel, a history of the music website Pitchfork, and an essay on the politics and angst of gay marriage. We encourage you to take a look at let us know what you think. You can read more about us, browse web-only content, and find contact information at www.nplusonemag.com.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A question never answered. August 13, 2013
Format:Paperback
I like n+1. In fact, this book was a promotional gift I received for renewing my subscription, so I have skin in the game when I say that.

But since this book was more or less free, I have less skin in the game when I say that this book was a disappointment.

I didn't realize what the structure of the book was. Basically, it it put together around a single conference presentation, with an introduction, three exploratory essays that were the presentation, an edited transcription of the discussion of the three essays, then several responses. The book closes with four more random essays on the topic. These are the strong point, and can stand alone from the rest of the book.

As individual pieces, they work, and are very interesting and worth reading. If you find this around, pick this up and turn to page 114. Start there. The symposium doesn't answer any questions, just sort of meanders. Overall, a disappointment, especially since I have loved other books by the press. I guess it is the fragmentary nature of the thing. It asks a question that I never feel is answered, and it is pieced together to become book length with an absurd Q&A. Not that the questions are too absurd, it's just absurd that that part is not only included, but takes up more than a quarter of the printed pages.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, insightful perspectives September 10, 2011
By CL
Format:Paperback
Hipsters blow my mind. I don't understand them, really. They're people, but they're a manifestation of something beyond themselves.

This book is not a definitive treatment of the hipster, which I think is appropriate. Every perspective seems valid, reasonable, and observable in real life. Before reading, I was more interested in what has led to the evolution of hipsterism, and this book addresses the economic and social issues that seem to point out the hole that hipsters fill in society. It's not just a book about hipsters -- it gives them context by describing facets of our society.

I'm going to read this book again.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book April 26, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Nice book with a lot of good essays, but as a collection the diagramation and the organization could be better.
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9 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review May 17, 2011
By Kate RS
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a really interesting format for exploring the concept of the hipster. My one criticism is the use of the word "retarded" by a panel member. As someone who works in the disability advocacy field and is a student of sociology, I felt this negated the intellectualism of the text and I was slightly disappointed by the appearance of that word. Other than that, I found the book to be interesting and thought provoking. I've shared it with several close friends of mine and it has provided us with endless conversation. What was the hipster? is a book I would read again and would recommend to anyone interested in the analysis of the social structure of groups and who is searching for a deeper meaning (if there is one) of the "hipster".
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4 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Guidance in December 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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