This thesis examines the production and maintenance of cool identities in the underground culture of New York City. Based on fieldwork in the Brooklyn neighborhood Williamsburg, cool is analyzed as a form of value, which is subject to negotiation and competition among agents within New York underground culture.
The field of underground culture is characterized by the presence of a number of contradicting agendas which are not easy to manage, and the competence of balancing these dilemmas thus becomes an envious one. As a scarce resource, this competence of cool becomes subject to negotiation.
Through a constant recontextualization of signs, agents actively perform mechanisms of distinction in order to maintain cool as something that is not easily accessed. The constant reproduction of scarcity results in cool being a fundamentally ethereal and fluid concept. What is considered to be cool is constantly changing; it is always on the move.