"Bobos in Paradise" by David Brooks

Essay by outrider87College, UndergraduateA+, May 2006

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Bobos is the term that author David Brooks uses to label the new rising upper class of today's society. Bobos are the creation of two merging social groups; the bourgeois and the bohemians. There has been a traditional clash between the bourgeois world of capitalism and the bohemian counterculture. "The bourgeoisie were the square, practical ones. They defended tradition and middle-class morality. They worked for corporations, lived in suburbs, and went to church. Meanwhile, the bohemians were the free spirits who flouted convention. They were the artists and the intellectuals - the hippies and the Beats." (p. 10). But these separate worlds have merged into one. This merging is what the book is all about, the new establishment. People with one foot in each world and the new codes of etiquette and morality they have come to hold onto. There is no arguing that the bobo culture exists and has instilled itself as the dominant culture in our society today.

This is best explained with both a consensus and conflict perspective. In order to fully understand how the bobo culture came into being and its very nature one must take into account how they developed both through constant battle between bourgeoisie and the bohemians and a certain amount of cohesion between the two groups.

In the beginning of the book, the tension between the bourgeoisie and the bohemians is explained in great detail. One clearly sees how both groups are in constant conflict with each other to gain control of society. Brooks refers back to the 1950s, where it was much easier to tell people apart. An excellent example Brooks gives is of the Cornelius Vanderbilts against the Henry David Thoreaus. You were either a bourgeois that prized materialism, order, rational thinking, self-discipline, and productivity or you where a bohemian...