Understanding Hipness: Subcultural Capital As A Feminist Tool '

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Understanding Hipness: ‘Subcultural Capital’ as a Feminist Tool by Sarah Thornton and Women and the Early British Rave Scene by Maria Pini, both discuss and analyze the social dance culture of the 1980’s. Thornton’s article focused primarily on the culture of clubbing while Pini’s article focused more on rave culture, however both did mention clubbing and raving at points in their article. Both articles carry validity in their arguments however it is important to take bias into account when analyzing their points. Throughout analyzing their articles, I’ve found my own personal criticisms of their writing choices and arguments. Sarah Thornton’s article, Understanding Hipness: ‘Subcultural Capital’ as a Feminist Tool, had three main points: …show more content…
Clubbing culture is dependent on the music, dance, clothing, and other aspects of local culture of that area. Thus, she claims clubbing culture is a local culture. Thornton then discusses cultural capital, which is a term made by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Cultural capital is one’s placement on the hierarchy of social statuses based on taste and education. One example used in the article was how accents can show certain distinctions between classes. Thornton uses this idea of cultural capital to lead into the idea of ‘subcultural capital’. She argues that within subcultural capital is ‘hipness’. Subcultural capital is “being ‘in the know’, using (but not over-using) current slang and looking as if you were born to perform the latest dance styles,” (Thornton 100). Thus, if one is rich in subcultural capital, then one is considered hip. Subcultural capital can accomplish a diffusion of classes in some aspects of society. According to Thornton the example of accents can be used for subcultural capital as well, because it would not be uncommon for more educated people to adopt working class accents through clubbing and social gatherings of different classes. Her second point she made was mainstream music and …show more content…
Her main argument was that rave culture contributed to feminism. Pini began her article with discussing how rave and social dance has been overlooked when talking about social history because it is seen as a women dominated social activity, thus deemed as not important. According to Pini, ‘rave culture’ was based on more of an experience rather than materialistic appearances. Raves were seen as “unsupervised adventures,” that had pleasure at the core of the experience. They were often times accompanied by “e” or ecstasy which contributed to the happy, friendly nature of raves rather than previous youth cultures such as punk as having an angry political nature. Because of this, raves were seen as more feminine and were openly more accepting of women because they were based on pleasure and the display of affection (Pini 371). Pini argues that unlike clubbing, raves were not materialistic, they were more about the experience. One example she uses is that raves were usually in secluded dirty basements and clubs were more of a sophisticated outing. Pini also argues that raves were less sex driven than clubs, where men would prey on girls and girls would try to get the attention of men. She claims that raves gave women a new sense of self where class and gender did not seem to define them as much, thus giving them more freedom to

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