‘Hipster Capitalism’ in the Age of Austerity? Polanyi Meets Bourdieu’s New Petite Bourgeoisie

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    This article dialogues Polanyi and Bourdieu to propose a new research agenda within the sociology of cultural production. Extending recent literature on hipsters, this iconic figure is shifted from the world of consumption to the world of production via Bourdieu’s conceptualisation of the new petite bourgeoisie. Using secondary empirical material of cultural micro-enterprises, two ideal-typical career strategies are sketched: cultural-capital oriented seeking to secure positions within established creative industries, and economic-capital orientated stylising ‘old’ petite bourgeoisie occupations to access economic returns. However, within the context of ongoing austerity policies, Bourdieu’s economic capital does not fully account for the variegated forms of material resources these nascent enterprises draw on. Bringing Polanyi’s modes of economic integration – reciprocity, redistribution and exchange – to Bourdieu opens new questions on how hipster capitalism is the practice of intermediating between these ‘backstage’ material modes and the ‘frontstage’ selling of style.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)60-76
    Number of pages17
    JournalCultural Sociology
    Issue number1
    Early online date25 Jan 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


    • austerity
    • cultural production
    • hipster
    • micro-enterprise
    • new cultural economy
    • new petite bourgeoisie


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