A Critical Reframing of Subcultural Cool and Consumption

Hebdige and Potters’s presentation will develop a critique of coolhunting and extension of subcultural research in sociology and cultural studies. Coolhunting is usually inter-preted as a corporate attempt to co-opt the styles and fashions of genuinely subversive subcultures. Yet it is important to note that “cool” itself is not subversive. To see this, Hebdige and Potter profile and systematize the amount of friction in the transmission of cultural information. It takes a long time for subcultural trends in fashion or music or speech to move from the streets of London or New York City to the suburban basements of Omaha or Ottawa. The phenomenon we call “cool” is a consequence of that friction. Coolhunters exploit the time lag for profit, and hipsters for the power to treat everyone else with contempt. Hebdige and Potter will draw from a variety of empirical sources to develop their alternative approach to countercultural co-optation.


Dick Hebdige and Andrew Potter (2007) ,"A Critical Reframing of Subcultural Cool and Consumption", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8, eds. Stefania Borghini, Mary Ann McGrath, and Cele Otnes, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 527-530.


Dick Hebdige, University of California, USA
Andrew Potter, University of Toronto, Canada


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8 | 2007

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