Deborah Talbot takes a look at hipsters and asks, from the perspective of subcultural analysis, what exactly are they all about, and should we be quite so mean to them?

Anyone who lives in East London, as I used to until very recently, will be familiar with the term hipster, the (normally male) figures of the shaped hairstyle, unkempt beard, plaid shirt and tight trousers, serving coffee or being served coffee. There are variations on the theme, but that’s the stereotype. What is remarkable is the degree of hostility they attract. Hipster is a term of derision, spoken of with a curl of the lip and a roll of the eye. It is, as Michael Gosse points out in an essay called Creative Bodies: Hipsters, Clothing and Identity, a label applied by the out-group and not one adopted by the subculture (Read more at The Unapologists).