Geoffrey Moss, Rachel Wildfeuer, and Keith McIntosh (Temple University, Department of Sociology) wrote a new book published by Springer Publishing titled “Contemporary Bohemia: A Case Study of an Artistic Community in Philadelphia.”
The book provides a detailed study that suggests that the bohemian tradition has undergone substantial change within the contemporary urban context. The authors maintain that artistic community that emerged within Philadelphia’s Fishtown/Kensington area constitutes a distinct subtype of bohemia, an artistic bohemian lifestyle community that supports a bohemian lifestyle but eschews the anti-bourgeois antagonism (e.g., toward yuppies) that has been foundational to the bohemian tradition. This community helped launch and overlaps with a larger community of hipsters. Contrary to existing academic portrayals of contemporary bohemian artists (i.e., as banal) and hipsters (i.e., as banal as well as superficial), we find that the area’s bohemian and hipster communities go beyond an ordinary creative class existence, and express substantive and progressive artistic, cultural, and political practices and values. The progressive orientation of the hipster community is most clearly expressed by a local ‘hipster church.” These communities, however, have helped facilitate a gentrification process that is gradually displacing long-time working-class residents as well as struggling artists and hipsters themselves.