1st Edition

Barista in the City Subcultural Lives, Paid Employment, and the Urban Context

    Barista in the City examines the impact of paid employment and the contemporary neoliberal context on the subcultural lives of hipsters who are employed as baristas.

    This book’s analysis of Philadelphia baristas employed within specialty coffee shops suggests that the existing literature on the relationship between neoliberalism and urban subcultures needs to be amended. The subcultural participants discussed within previous studies lived intensely subcultural lives that were ultimately diminished due to processes of gentrification and displacement. The subcultural lives of the baristas investigated by the authors were greatly diminished from the very beginning. Neoliberal policies, and structures of class, race, gender, and gentrification intersected with their employment in ways that diminished their ability to establish lives that constitute a full-fledged subcultural alternative. The book presents a new theoretical perspective that could aid researchers who study urban subcultures. It also discusses the implications of its analysis for urban policy.

    This book is an essential update on previous scholarship pertaining to urban subcultures. It also contributes to existing literatures on baristas, hipsters, gentrification, and service sector employment within the city. It is suitable for students and scholars in Urban Sociology, Urban Studies, Cultural Studies, and the Sociology of Work.

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Specialty Coffee Shops and the Job of the Barista

    Chapter 3: Why They Work as Baristas

    Chapter 4: Class

    Chapter 5: A Taste for Inclusion? Racial and Gender Inequality in a Hip, Low-Wage Service Job

    Chapter 6: Baristas as Residential Gentrifiers

    Chapter 7: Coffee Shops as Agents of Commercial Gentrification: Views of Coffee Shop Owners, Managers, and Baristas

    Chapter 8: Conclusion


    Geoffrey Moss is a full-time Professor of Instruction in Sociology at Temple University. He previously published two books, Artistic Enclaves in the Post-Industrial City: A Case Study of Lawrenceville Pittsburgh (2017) and Contemporary Bohemia: A Case Study of an Artistic Community in Philadelphia (2019). The later book was co-authored with Keith McIntosh and Rachel Wildfeuer. He has also published articles in the Journal of Criminal Justice, Economic and Industrial Democracy, and School Organization.

    Keith McIntosh recently received his Ph.D from the Department of Sociology at Temple University. He previously co-authored a book with Geoffrey Moss and Rachel Wildfeuer, Contemporary Bohemia: A Case Study of an Artistic Community in Philadelphia (2019). His (2021) dissertation investigated a gentrifying community in Philadelphia, and covered the role of the Church, race, and class in shaping relationships between gentrifiers and long-time residents.

    Ewa Protasiuk is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Temple University. She has presented her work at the American Sociological Association and Eastern Sociological Society annual conferences. She is currently writing a dissertation about work, inequality, and the pandemic within Philadelphia restaurants.