Hagen, Målfrid Irene: From hippies to hipsters, the sociology of colours

As also described by Rose (2001), images may be analyzed and interpreted on the basis of compositional qualities, including colors that appear in the image. Compositional interpretations are most often used for analyzing visual art. However, colors appear in most types of images, including visual art and photography, and may contain meanings also in the latter. Indeed colors appear everywhere in our everyday life, and are used in a great range of areas in the society, in order to signal different messages from public and private institutions, as well as they can signal rules. Many common signs applied with explicit colors are used internationally to signal specific rules and messages. For example traffic lights, where red means stop and green means go, all around the world. Of course, colors also appear in fashion and trends, which are also often reflected in contemporary art expressions. In this paper I present and discuss a wide range of meanings communicated by colors, and ascribed to colors, in different cultures and societies from the 1960s until today. In particular I look at how colors have been used to signal social and cultural belonging, for example among youths, where hippies from the 1960-70s are known by their particularly colorful clothes.