The determinants of authenticity in hip hop culture are not obvious. The roots, as well as the branches, of hip hop’s cultural boundaries are found twisted, tangled and far from the tree.
In an attempt to prune through the overgrowth and uncover the determinants of hip hop authenticity, I suggest a model offered by hip hop scholar Gwendolyn Pough. Pough offers a helpful point of cultural entry with her revision of Habermas’ “public sphere.” Taking her revision, and furthering it with the theories of Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin and French economist Pierre Bourdieu, I argue that cultural borders are both fluid and flexible. By framing hip hop culture as a counterpublic space governed by Bourdieu’s cultural capital, I use Aaron McGruder’s comic strip, “The Boondocks” to emphasize the power of linguistic translation in creating and dissolving cultural boundaries.
Full Article (PDF):Mike-Moore-Economies-of-Cultural-Legitimacy.pdf