Alessandro Gerosa, "The Hipster Economy: Taste and Authenticity in Late Modern Capitalism (UCL Press, 2024)


Today, being authentic has become an aspiration and an imperative. The notion of authenticity shapes the consumption habits of individuals in the most diverse contexts such as food and drinks, clothing, music, tourism and the digital sphere, even leading to the resurgence of apparently obsolescent modes of production such as craft. It also significantly transforms urban areas, their local economies and development. Alessandro Gerosa's The Hipster Economy: Taste and Authenticity in Late Modern Capitalism (UCL Press, 2024) analyses this complex set of related phenomena to argue that the quest for authenticity has been a driver of Western societies from the emersion of capitalism and industrial society to today.

From this premise, the book advances multiple original contributions. First, it explains why and how authenticity has become a fundamental value orienting consumers' taste in late modern capitalism; second, it proposes a novel conceptualisation of the aesthetic regime of consumption; third, the book constitutes the first detailed analysis of the resurgence of the neo-craft industries, their entrepreneurs, and the economic imaginary of consumption underpinning them, and fourth, it analyses how the hipster economy is impacting the urban space, favouring new logic of urban development with contrasting outcomes.

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Jeff Adler is an ex-linguist and occasional contributor to New Books Network!

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