1st Edition

The Bohemian Ethos Questioning Work and Making a Scene on the Lower East Side

By Judith R. Halasz Copyright 2015
    236 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The iconoclastic ingenuity of bohemians, from Gerard de Nerval to Allen Ginsberg, continually captivates the popular imagination; the worlds of fashion, advertising, and even real estate all capitalize on the alternative appeal of bohemian style. Persistently overlooked, however, is bohemians' distinctive relationship to work. In this book, sociologist Judith R. Halasz examines the fascinating junctures between bohemian labor and life. Weaving together historiography, ethnography, and personal experiences of having been raised amidst downtown New York's bohemian communities, Halasz deciphers bohemians' unconventional behaviors and attitudes towards employment and the broader work world. From the nineteenth-century harbingers on Paris' Left Bank to the Beats, Underground, and more recent bohemian outcroppings on New York's Lower East Side, The Bohemian Ethos traces the embodiment of a politically charged yet increasingly precarious form of cultural resistance to hegemonic social and economic imperatives.

    1. Introduction  2. The Parisian Prototype: 19th-Century Bohemia  3. The Beats: Political Poetics  4. The 1960s: A Generation in Revolt  5. The Underground  6. Get Back to Work: The Demise of the Underground  7. On the Margins of the Workaday World: Productivity, the Work Ethic, and Bohemian Self-Determination  8. Epilogue to a Scene: The Current Situation


    Judith R. Halasz is Associate Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at New Paltz.