Subculture, the Meaning of Style - Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Dick Hebdige
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Chapter 9 Summary and Analysis

Hebdige briefly considers the possibility that style might be "appreciated" for its aesthetic qualities alone—as art, in other words. He quotes the opinion of Nuttal, who regards a rocker jacket as art of high degree, symmetrical, ritualistic and possessed of fetishistic power. Hebdige, however, dismisses the idea, concluding that Nuttal has missed the point entirely. The lingering fetishistic qualities of style, Hebdige argues, aren't sufficiently strong enough to establish style as art. Style exists only as part of system, a single cog rotating in a social engine of meaning. Style lacks the universal, timeless quality of art. It only has relevance in the context of social articulation.

The author explains how style is cyclical. Objects begin in the domain of the mass culture, only to be repurposed as style by participants of subculture. This new signification expresses ideas in...

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This section contains 328 words
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Buy the Subculture, the Meaning of Style Study Guide
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