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Hipster Subculture and Green Movement Counterculture


A culture is a complex phenomenon that cannot be isolated from the process of social evolution. It often coexists with an array of subcultures and countercultures that are closely linked to the issue of national identity and the feeling of belonging. This essay dwells on values, norms, beliefs, symbols, and language as core components of a culture. Moreover, it dwells on the comparison between the hipster subculture and the green movement counterculture.

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It is necessary to determine the components mentioned above to understand the essence of the phenomenon. Language is the most critical element of the culture that works as a communication tool. It brings meanings and creates unique knowledge shared by all members of the group. Cultural norms represent appropriate behavior and rules accepted in society. For example, being late for a meeting can be considered a violation of cultural norms. Beliefs are assumptions that represent the source of motivation and inspiration. The American dream is an example of how encouraging impulse impacts people’s life. Beliefs tend to be connected with values that depict social attitudes toward the essential elements of life. In many cultures, family and respect for older people are regarded as the highest value. Symbols are specific gestures that hold meaning, such as the Namaste sign in Hinduism.

Subcultures are distinguished by the presence of values that unite like-minded individuals who seek self-expression. The hipster subculture takes its roots in the Jazz Age of the 1940s and 1950s in New York and Chicago (Johnson). This subculture was born as an attempt to react to the growing mass production and consumerism. Therefore, hipsters developed a belief system based on independence, creativity, and freedom of expression. Since they had found inspiration in the Jazz music of black people, non-conformity became a new norm.

The formulation of this leading norm shaped the values of the hipster subculture. It venerates an ethical lifestyle, including a vegetarian or vegan diet, and biking instead of owning a car (Maly and Varis 3). Several symbols that are more commonly found in hipsters’ outfits reinforce these values. They choose thrift-store fashion or vintage pieces of clothing to highlight the uniqueness of their style. The Hipster subculture introduced new words like ‘funky,’ ‘cool’ and ‘bit’ (Maly and Varis 2). Though the hipster subculture has changed in the 21 century, it still follows the same values and norms.

The green movement is a counterculture because its proponents oppose mainstream social behaviors and norms. The modern environmental movement in the U.S. started to flourish after World War II (Lallanilla). Environmentalists believe in the need to halt industrial development and rely on scientific knowledge in order to avert climate change. Hence, the values include the protection of the environment and wildlife, equal distribution of wealth and power between nations. Cultural norms, in this case, stand for the rejection of widespread consumption patterns. Consequently, the language of the movement bears features and meanings of scientific communication. For environmentalists, symbols are particular days or manifestations when they feel unity, such as the Earth Day or School Strikes for Climate.


Even though the hipster subculture and environmental movement seem to be different, there are many similarities. First of all, both of the groups oppose the mainstream culture of consumerism and mass production. Secondly, they prioritize ethical choices and sustainable living. However, language and symbols significant for the two groups remain different. The green movement aims to use the language of science to communicate the message. The language of hipsters shapes their identity and interactions with society.


Johnson, Taryn. Hipster and Postmodern Subcultural Identity. Medium, 2016. Web.

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Lallanilla, Marc. The History of the Green Movement. ThoughCo, 2018. Web.

Maly, Ico and Varis, Piia. “The 21st-century Hipster: On Micro-populations in Times of Superdiversity.” European Journal of Cultural Studies, vol.19, no. 6, 2016, pp. 1–17.

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