2. The Dichotomy in the Modern Bohemian Subculture

Klimt Painting in the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, Austria
Bohemianism was born in mid-19th century Paris and popularized concepts like freedom of thought, unconventionality and non-attachment. Stemming from the derogatory reference of a gypsy, the “Bohemians” were carefree, urban artisans that were no longer bound to the creatively constricting system of art patronage to an elite class which dominated their familial trade for generations. These artisans were opened to a new commercial market with endless innovative possibilities. With their newfound trade independence, Bohemians began to explore freedom in all aspects in their lives especially in politics, literature and sexual norms. American Bohemianism was centered in Greenwich Village where the pluralistic nature of culture was forming through a new restaurant scene that was shaped by a “cosmopolitan, sympathetic to the fine arts, unbound by convention, open-minded” model that describes Bohemian thought (Kornblush).
Bohemianism struck a deep divergence in the way that society thought about being ‘unconventional’. Ancestors of the Bohemians were those concerned with Biblical permanence, but Bohemianism comes from the idea of remaining connected to the diverse, modern world. Dick Hebdige would classify the Bohemians as a “symbolic challenges to a symbolic order”, or a subculture (Hebdige 92). The modernization of Bohemian style and thought has contributed to another phenomenon known as co-optation, or when subcultural style is assimilated into the hegemony. Co-optation is seen as a victory of the hegemony in maintain its status quo of “moving equilibrium” which is threatened by the emergence of subcultural groups (Hebdige 15). In addition to the defining elements of culture like values, norms, patterns of behaviors and their material or institutional products, Omar Lizardo goes further to define two distinct types of culture and their social capital. High-brow culture is aspects of culture associated with a more elite group of people while popular culture is associated with what creates day to day action among society as a whole. Bohemianism sits at a unique intersection between these two concepts because artisans once created goods that were reserved for the wealthy elite. Once this social construction fell, the liberated urban artisans used their skills in order to create what they considered “diverse cultural experiences made possible by the metropolis … as the modern way of life” (Kornblush). Since the subcultural goals create the meaning of their outwardly expressing style, Bohemians rejected the term “bohemian” in favor of “cultural class” which more accurately synthesized their goal of delivering the highbrow experience to the common man in a free-spirited manner.
According to Hebdige an important aspect of subculture is its ability to rebel against the cultural norms, or hegemony. In his discussion about the developing Regge culture in post war Europe, he noted that black children were “less inclined than their parents …to accept [their] interior status and narrow options offered them” which allowed the creation of the Reggae subculture which, like other subcultural groups, serves as a unifying agent which separated two groups with differing expectations of society (Hebdige 40). The idea of young people having the ability to form their own cultural networks can also be seen in Lizardo’s analysis of “popular culture” consumption which he notes that the broader scope of popular social space equates to having weaker social ties. This is because popular culture is associated with “fun” and “pleasure” especially given that younger people associate in this social sphere (Lizardo). And because “high-brow” taste is related to a higher ranked social class, people in this class are usually older and not as affected by the subcultural strains on the hegemony because they are grounded in their generation’s beliefs. The socially liberated artists in the 1840s were inspired by “the new commercial realities of the cultural marketplace” and saw potential in an artistic appeal to the urban working class (Gluck). Bohemianism is a mature embodiment of youthful freedom that blurs the line between elite culture and pop culture.
Modern Bohemianism is an example of co-optation. The death of subculture comes from commercialization because once the fashion is easily reproducible, it loses its rebellious edge. With the co-optation of the Bohemian lifestyle many ironies emerged. For example, the original meaning of the word “Bohemian” refers to a travelling gypsy. According to Marilyn Brown and her research through Gypsies and Other Bohemians: The Artist in Nineteenth-Century France, she describes that the mobility of a traditional gypsy is “geographic rather than social” and that “the artistic bohemian is or may become bourgeois” (Brown 17). This inconsistency in term builds an instable foundation upon which the rest of Bohemian ideas are built. For example, twenty-four-year-old fashion and travel blogger Lauren Bullen highlights Marilyn Brown’s argument in social mobility. Commonly known under her Instagram handle @gypsealust she has capitalized upon the concept of nonattachment and idealistic idea living life on the road. Bullen’s unconventional, artistic career makes her a modern Bohemian. With her seemingly vagabond lifestyle she lands a six-figure salary ironically under her misleadingly labelled handle romanticizing the concept of being a “gypsy”. Today, other travel bloggers with a large following like Bullen further co-opt the Bohemian lifestyle by partnering with companies which sponsor their pseudo-nomadic lifestyle by sponsoring five-star hotel stays in exotic locations and gifts designer clothing for marketing. Travel bloggers like Buller have deviated from the original intent of the freedom in the Bohemian movement by inappropriately romanticizing living out of a suitcase for a career while making six-figure salaries. Unknowingly, these elitist bloggers are a part of the co-optation of Bohemianism to return the exotic, creative lifestyle back to the control of a class with more social power. 
 Lauren Buller would be an example of a new social class Kornblush calls “bobos” or “a hybrid between the bohemians and the bourgeoisie, as the new elite” (Kornblush). This new term stems from an attempt to coopt highbrow culture into popular culture because more people want the be associated with this modern social class. The irony in the fashion term “boho chic” comes from this concept. Like the subcultural groups that Hebdige describes, the modern Bohemians have stylistic distinctions that are an outward expression of their goals. Bohemians make their distinctions through, according to Elle Magazine a “laid-back and easy feel” with “artisanal pieces with authentic details” – a form style that comes at an ironic price tag. Elle Magazine states one will want to “go hippie or go home” by purchasing items like $375 Gucci Printed Silk Headband or an $800 Acne Studios Sway Slip Dress. The irony in the modern cooptation of the Bohemian lifestyle is that fashion empires like Elle suggest that one must spend money in order to embody the carefree and vagabond ideals of Bohemianism. This establishes a new Bohemian social order, or “bobos” for those like Lauren Buller making six figures on a carefree career to embody the new creative class.
While there are modern deviations from the Bohemian subculture’s original intent, I consider my experience in Copenhagen a continuation of the Greenwich Village Bohemian ideals. I am here to seek diverse cultural experiences to be more aware of and more engaged in the modern world. My way of life here is Bohemian in the sense that it is unconventional. For example, as a freshman I am living out of two suitcases and spending my weekends traveling, going to ballets or museums to experience different cultures instead of going to football games or fraternity parties. Bohemianism is different in Copenhagen. People do participate in highbrow culture events more frequently because the high availability of museums, ballets and art events in this urban European city. But because of the easier access to highbrow culture activates in Copenhagen, would be considered highbrow culture in America would be considered part of popular culture in the metropolis of Copenhagen.
 As for stylistic choices of the almost hegemony status of the appreciation of Bohemian arts subculture in Copenhagen, it is apparent that the Danes do invest money in their clothing choices. However, the bohemian chic “psychedelic look” and “turbans and statement earrings [that] are totally in” according to Elle magazine does not reflect that of the Bohemian Dane. Danish clothing lie in designer pieces of dark colors, simple designs and well-made material. Clothing is considered a investment in practicality and timelessness, and does not reflect upon the co-opted version of the Bohemianism that can be seen in America. This shows the differing views that Danes and Americans have on outward expression.
The goals of a subculture give meaning to its unique style, the Bohemians of Paris in the 1840s, Greenwich Village of the early 1900s and the co-opted versions in the 21st century all have varying outward expressions rooted in different forms of the same goal: the emergence of a new social class allowing the elite highbrow arts culture to synthesize with popular culture. Bohemians follow Lizardo’s model of embodied cultural capital the facilitating agent between people with similar tastes. At its core, Bohemianism encourages freedom of taste and expression among all social classes to create a new culture unbound by status conventions to create a large, yet more strongly tied social network.

Street Art Projected on the wall in the Copenhagen Metro

Works Cited

Adams, Brittany. "5 Boho-Chic Looks." ELLE. ELLE, 03 Aug. 2017.

Brown, Marilyn. Gypsies and Other Bohemians: The Artist in Nineteenth-Century France. UMI Research Pr. 1985.

Gluck, M. Theorizing the Cultural Roots of the Bohemian ArtistModernism/modernity, vol. 7 no. 3, 2000, pp. 351-378.

Fitzmaurice, Rosie. "Meet the Instagram-famous Travel Blogging Couple Who Get Paid up to £7,000 to Post a Single Photo." Business Insider. Business Insider, 04 Apr. 2017.

Hebdige, Dick. Subculture the Meaning of Style. Routledge. 1988.

Kornblush, Andrea Tuttle. "Bohemianism." Encyclopedia of American Urban History. Sage Publ., 2007. 84-85. Print.

Lizardo, Omar. How Cultural Tastes Shape Personal Networks. American Sociological Review. Volume 71. 2006. University of Notre Dame.

This was an essay I published for my Sociology class last year when I lived in Copenhagen. To this day, the essays I wrote in this class are some of my favorite essays I have ever written. 


The City Where It All Comes Back To

It always comes back to Paris. It was one of the first European cities I had ever been to and it was the place I found myself coming back to time and time again. Come to Paris and you will no longer wonder why all of the greatest writers of our day were enchanted by this place. There really is something about beautiful, magical Paris that takes your breath away. Each. Time.

I have so many photos of this beautiful city. In the fall, in the spring and in the summer. I have been to Paris enough times now that I have my favorite neighborhoods, sights start to look familiar and I even have a list of off the beaten path places that I want to remember the next time that I am in this here. Because we know each other so well, I could take photos of Paris that were not the typical of a tourist. I could begin to capture the way in which this city made me feel: nostalgic, wistful, whimsical, a little melancholic and of course the familiar feeling of bubbling warmth in the pit of my stomach.

I took these photos when I was in Paris last spring. I travelled alone from Copenhagen and had plans to meet up with a few friends who were living there at the time. I took one day; however, completely in solitude ... which is something you don't often have the chance to while in college. In solitude and with no particular plans in mind I wandered throughout this city and stopped by places that I had not been to before ... arrondissements that I had yet to explore.

Paris is one of those places that is from another time period ... in the best way possible. Of course it is one of the most progressive places for industry and commerce, but the architecture keeps this treasure sentimentally well nested in la Belle Epoque.


Hello, It's Me

Hello, Internet. It's me again. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read my ramblings and muddling through the realness with me. Thank you also for those of you who reached out to me after my last post. I have been thinking a lot about the internet, and while there are some days I want to be a sheep herder in Iceland and leave this world behind, it is in these moments I am so thankful for the connection, the support. 

You know what time of year it is. It's the beginning. Page 3 / 365. Do you have your resolutions all mapped out to the T? Your gym memberships bought? Your diets planned? Your motivational podcasts qued? And what about those trash bags to de-clutter ... you got those babies ready to go? 

Stressed? Don't be. I have done none of this and honestly I don't plan on it. You see I'm trying something different this year ... mostly because I am in a situation that I had never have been before. To spare you the details I am not at my healthiest point in my life ... these past few months I have known more illness and more injury than I ever have in my twenty years here. I am in the process of learning to live in my body as a baby && winter break has been met with a lot of time off and lots of introspection about how I foresee this next year of my life panning out. It's going to be quite different: no huge adventures abroad have been planned yet and no transitions are happening until 2020. This year is going to be the year of work: both academically and on cultivating the person that I want to be as I graduate and head out into the world sooner than I know it. 

I have created a list of five points that I wanted to share with you about where I want my mindset to be for this upcoming year. It is a bit ironic since once of my goals for this year is more finely distinguishing the line between my public and my private life and my life online and off ... but you know what they say ... what you put in writing make you accountable && you know I am all about creating community. 

I. Relearn how to be alone
I listened to a very interesting TED talk the other day which inspired me to relook into something my only child self knew how to do when I was younger ... and while I have become more of an extrovert than an introvert nowadays (which is so exciting and so fun) there are qualities I want to re-cultivate to be a more mindful, focused human being. 

II. Write. Every. Day
Ever since I can remember my teachers and professors have told me I possess a skill for writing. Truth be told ... I hate it. The physical act of forcing myself to sit down and bang out some words on a screen or notebook does not appeal to me at all; however, once I am done there is a space that I long to prolong in my head -- the space of clarity through processing the internal world externally. I have made myself a promise to write everyday so that this flame of creativity stays lit, so that I can explore the world through my thoughts. 

III. Declutter my newsfeed and only view what will make me a better person.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how I interact with social content. The way in which I have used social media since first downloading Instagram June 2012 has changed immensely: It has become mindless and I have started using the internet as a tool to pass time and to escape the feeling of boredom that I have once known so well that I am now a stranger to. I have been unfollowing a lot of people and  brands and cleared out my feeds to people who I no longer know, wish to know or who no longer serve me in becoming the person that I want to be. It is liberating. In doing this I am looking to reshape how I use the internet and use it as a tool ... not a crutch.  

IV. Make real change and become part of the real world
Intentionally vague? Absolutely. Most of my life has been dedicated to learning and enriching myself with the goal of one day bringing this carefully curated version of my being to contribute to the world. I am at a point now where I am ready to bring my person I have become and implement her into society through active, real and life changing service to humanity. 

V. Read a book a month
Pretty self explanatory here. I read a LOT for school ... mostly things that I do not choose / are very dry. I have chosen some books to read these next few months that are ones to challenge the way I have been thinking to provide myself with tools to be a more innovative, inclusive and deductive thinker and leader. 

Here is to a year of cultivating an intellectual
discovering the best version of myself
balancing emotions and practicality
taking things as they come

all to become the most empowered version of myself to share with the world and fight for what I believe in, never surrendering and never backing down

cheers to a year of hope!



The Big Question of What's Next: Part I

You've probably been wondering where the heck I've been since my last post ... Vienna, Munich, Amsterdam (again), then home then I casually moved to France for six weeks and then explored Barcelona and London before *surprise* settling down at Wake Forest for the real college experience. Oh also, some internet troll hacked my blog and stole my IP address. So here we are for the long haul, let me explain that.

After a year of living in more than one country while technically it being my first year of college, a year of adventures and growth I was really ready for what one would call a "normal college experience"... or so that's the story I told myself. I am a people person by nature so the transition to Wake Forest as a sophomore was quite smooth at first because I submerged myself almost immediately to keep busy so that I could stay present and keep myself away from thinking about what my life looked like this time last year. I ran all around campus doing everything I was "supposed" to do: going to football games and frat parties but more importantly studying hard and doing amazing things like join the crew team and Mock Trial and declaring a double major in Politics & International Affairs and French Studies.

There's a lot I could unpack here and probably will when I get the chance to write again, but the biggest thing I have noticed about college is the culture of staying busy. I constantly hear "God, I am just SO busy", people literally compare just how jammed their colorful Google Calendars are, how much one can be just going nonstop. It's almost like an unspoken competition about who can do the most, cram the most in their 24 hours. Quite frankly, this kind of culture is addicting and from when classes started in August to mid-October I could barely tell you what I did because I was just so caught up in the stream of staying "busy" like everyone else.

And then came October 17th 2018, the day after my 20th birthday. Midterms and Fall Break had just finished and we were gearing up for the second half of this semester. It was the end of crew practice around 7:20AM and the girls in my boat were putting our boat away and under freak circumstances when we were lifting the boat over heads my head was perfectly in the way and I got hit. Concussed.

The treatment? No thinking. No class. No technology. No stimulation of any kind. Just rest. This was definitely not the prescription I wanted at all, but let me tell you it's exactly what I needed. I was knocked out of the game and the vicious cycle of staying busy and was literally given the time to just exist. I followed concussion protocol until I was allowed to do "light thinking" and this was literally the moment when the rusty gears started spinning slowly and my usually hyperactive brain was picturing reality differently.

What was going on here you ask? Well the truth is no matter how stupidly busy I was I was fruitlessly trying to fill a void that isn't supposed to be filled in the first place.

So what was I ignoring? Well, that deserves a whole another post. To preface: I was ignoring the conditions of an environment where I thrive the best and can proactively contribute the most to society by trying to fit myself, a round peg into the square hole of the constructed society that college campus life is. Ladies and gentlemen,  I am talking about the fact that Kira Ann Tabor feels most alive when she is challenged and where else to find this kind of experience is one where an American is minority ... yes, I am talking about the ever infamous to my vernacular concept of *abroad*.

I am just now finally capable of finding the words to describe a feeling that I couldn't before. I had called my mom and told her that I wanted to go abroad again for another year, but since moms know literally everything the breakthroughs just kept coming. Are you ready? I don't want abroad to be just something that I do. I want the international experience to be everything that I am.

I have talked a lot today, but now that you have made it this far the moral of the story here is that the idea of what college is "supposed" to look like is a myth. I am thankful for a liberally thinking school like Wake Forest University to help me explore this idea and come the decision of how the rest of my experience will be shaped by this incredible institution.

Without further rambling, with the full support of my parents and the amazing people at the Center for Global Programs here at Wake Forest, I will be graduating May 18th, 2020 and after which I will be moving to Europe to continue my studies at graduate level in an international context before applying to law school. I don't know exactly how any of this will shape out, but that's what makes life an adventure and it all starts with a goal. 

I am a writer and an external processor as much as I try to ignore this fact. It's always been something I have been good at but never have taken upon myself, so I hope you are ready to follow along this journey with me.



An essential part of this life is to do things that make you feel alive. There is a difference between simply existing and living. Existence is merely breath. Living is where you feel your breath in you come alive in all the colors - not only do you see color, you life feels like color. I want to live a life where I am not existing to pass the time. Time will always pass but I want to catch each and every second like lightening bugs on a summer's night. Each moment has it's own magic and its own light. It is up to us to find it. These moments are the lightening bugs - everywhere but we have to have the eagerness to look for them, knowing that timing is everything. Should we forget what this feeling is like we need look no further than existence, which is in an of itself is a gift. It's not a place I want to linger for too long for life is calling me, but it is a place to come back to when we need humbled about how lucky we are to be alive. 


The Mosque of Hassan II

The mosque floating over the sea in sunny Casablanca, Morocco

While it would take me about an hour to recount to you all of the churches and cathedrals that I have been to, never have I been to a mosque before in all of my travels. I grew up Catholic, as well as my parents, so naturally we were always inclined to go to Christian countries. I have been to Vatican City three times and every time I go to Paris I always stop in Notre Dame de Paris.

It has only been through my AP Art History class junior year of high school that I was even introduced to what exactly happened inside of a mosque. More than that several art history classes and personal research later, I have come to learn about the formalistic and contextual importance of Islamic art. For example, no iconography is displayed in Mosques only abstract mosaics and Arabic inscriptions as to avoid the worship of icons because a key belief in the Muslim faith is a worship in one God and one God only -- Allah. Not only are they extremely beautiful, patterns help to create a meditative like prayer experience. Furthermore, each color and each pattern have their own symbolic message and importance. If you want to know more about this click here

2018 is by far the year I am learning more than I ever have about Islam. I am taking an interesting class taught by an atheist Danish feminist theologian about unpacking the Western perspective of Islam using accommodation models, meaning systems and the sociology of religion. That combined with my recent trip to Morocco, in particular the Mosque of Hassan II, has really opened my eyes to a religion that I grew up with a stigma against thanks to my own religion and of course the nature of Western news. This is a classic example of education truly having the power to open one's eyes to another facet of the world to better create understanding to work towards a more unified humanity.

The Mosque of Hassan II was completed in 1993. After construction, it became the fifth largest mosque in the world. It can hold up to 100,000 people for the daily prayers during the month of Ramadan. Each day they have around 25,000 people come for the five times daily prayers.

The most interesting part of my tour of the interior of the mosque was hearing our local guide discuss its architecture. I never realized how intentional architecture was in the construction of a religious site. For example, the Mosque of Hassan II is constructed over the ocean to mirror a description of heaven found in the Qur'an.

More than anything I am breaking down past stigmas through my discovery of Islam and realizing more and more how beautiful it's teachings are. While the mechanisms of delivery differ, I now realize how familiar the messages are to the ones that I have received through my Catholic upbringing.

"The reward of goodness is nothing but goodness" - The Holy Qur'an; Chapter 55 Verse 61

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - The Holy Bible; Matthew Chapter 7 Verse 12


Life Things

Here in Copenhagen, it is trendy to wear these kinds of pants that resemble pajama pants. It's a concept I am 100% here for. 

I've been spending a lot of time at this one cafe called the Living Room. I like to sit by the window and right across the street there is a tattoo shop and occasionally when I look up I see people oogling at their new tattoo. 

A very snowy Copenhagen.

Call me superficial, but mirror pics are my dorky obsession right now. I literally have one from every day - mostly because I am still getting used to the fact I have bangs!

After I went to Morocco I have three new passport stamps: which is quite the accomplishment since I have been traveling solely in the EU these past few months.

Granola bars with important messages have my heart. 
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