Is coolness still cool?

Brown, V. ORCID: 0000-0002-0855-920X, 2021. Is coolness still cool? Journal for Cultural Research. ISSN 1479-7585

1507168_Brown.pdf - Published version

Download (696kB) | Preview


In the 1990s and early 2000s, “cool’ received substantial scholarly attention, some influential studies claiming that cool was becoming the dominant ethic in contemporary consumer societies, with increasingly global resonance. Yet it remains an elusive and complex phenomenon approached from numerous disciplinary islands, though sometimes curiously absent from studies of related phenomena such as fashion, ‘authenticity’, the ‘hipster’ and ‘low affect’. In the light of developments since the early 2000s (including apparently substantial changes to the form and content of coolness), I argue here for the continued relevance of cool and the need for re-evaluation of key ideas of the 1990s and 2000s. The paper briefly suggests why cool has proved so tricky to work with, before identifying five key themes in existing studies, highlighting some contradictions which invite further endeavour, perhaps focused on renewed attention to cool in relation to forms of modernity.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal for Cultural Research
Creators: Brown, V.
Publisher: Informa UK Limited
Date: 22 November 2021
ISSN: 1479-7585
Rights: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Divisions: Schools > School of Art and Design
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 11 Jan 2022 10:44
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2022 10:44

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year