The Subcultures Network is a cross-disciplinary research network for scholars and students interested in the relationship between subcultures (in all their forms) and wider processes of social, cultural and political change. Bringing together theoretical analyses, empirical studies and methodological discussions, the network is designed to explore the relationships between subcultures and their historical context, and the place of subcultures within patterns of cultural and political change. This book is very much a product of the Network's brief and emerged, in large part, from the inaugural symposium held at London Metropolitan University in September 2011. The book is divided into three parts, each with a broadly defined theme. The first of these relates to punk and identity, particularly with regard to gender, class, age and race. The second part looks at punk's relationship to locality and space. In particular, it deals with two overlapping processes. First, the ways in which punk's transmission allowed for diverse interpretation and utilisation of the cultural form beyond local, regional and national boundaries. Second, the extent to which punk's aesthetic and expression was shaped by, inspired and reflected the environments in which its protagonists lived. The third and final part concentrates on communication and reception. From within the culture, the language of punk is brought under discursive analysis by Melani Schröter, who looks at the critiques of 'normality' contained within the lyrics of German punk bands from the late 1970s through to the present day.
Ripped, torn and cut offers a collection of original essays exploring the
motivations behind – and the politics within – the multitude of fanzines that
emerged in the wake of British punk from 1976. Sniffin’ Glue (1976–77),
Mark Perry’s iconic punk fanzine, was but the first of many, paving the way for
hundreds of home-made magazines to be cut and pasted in bedrooms across the UK.
From these, glimpses into provincial cultures, teenage style wars and formative
political ideas may be gleaned. An alternative history, away from the
often-condescending glare of London’s media and music industry, can be
formulated, drawn from such titles as Ripped & Torn, Brass
Lip, City Fun, Vague, Kill Your Pet Puppy, Toxic
Grafity, Hungry Beat and Hard as Nails. Here, in a
pre-internet world, we see the development of networks and the dissemination of
punk’s cultural impact as it fractured into myriad sub-scenes: industrial,
post-punk, anarcho, Oi!, indie, goth. Ripped, torn and cut brings
together academic analysis with practitioner accounts to forge a collaborative
history ‘from below’. The first book of its kind, this collection reveals the
contested nature of punk’s cultural politics by turning the pages of a vibrant
Matthew Worley, Keith Gildart, Anna Gough-Yates, Sian Lincoln, Bill Osgerby, Lucy Robinson, John Street and Pete Webb
for criticism, self-examination, self-expression and communication.
Taken all together, and in keeping with the SubculturesNetwork’s aim
to broker cross-disciplinary discussion, the chapters included here bring varied
perspectives to the practice, process and politics of punk-related fanzines.
There are limitations: questions of class and race are but touched upon and
warrant far greater attention. Part IV, ‘Global Communications’, is but the
proverbial tip of the iceberg. Non-punk scenes also generated fanzines of
equal and distinct interest. But
Matthew Worley, Keith Gildart, Anna Gough-Yates, Sian Lincoln and Bill Osgerby
particular, it seeks to provide a historical dimension to the study
of popular music, youth and subculture, subjects that very few historians have
deigned to engage with previously.12 Indeed, academic interest in youth culture
has tended to be concentrated in the social sciences, primarily criminology,
cultural studies, politics and sociology. For the historians involved in the
SubculturesNetwork that compiled Fight Back, therefore, the book forms part
of a wider objective to, first, claim such an area for serious historical research
and, second, to learn from and
. See Paul Ginsborg, A History of
Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics 1935–1988 (London: Penguin, 1990).
6 In the case of Turin, see Giacomo Bottà, ‘Lo Spirito Continua: Torino and the
Collettivo Punx Anarchici’, in The SubculturesNetwork (eds), Fight Back:
Punk Politics and Resistance (Manchester: Manchester University Press,
2015), pp. 155–69.
7 The Movimento del 77 is a complex, extreme left-wing political movement,
which left aside most of the idealism of 1968 and started focusing on the
‘needs’ of its ‘subjectivities’, for instance by practising the
‘Crisis music’ and political ephemera in the emergent ‘structure of feeling’, 1976–83
class to challenge, not just the dominant ideology, but also the very
cultural forms that made it dominant.
The author gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided to present
an earlier version of this chapter at the SubculturesNetwork Conference
(2011). These funds were received from a grant partly funded by Wilfrid
Laurier University Operating Funds, and partly by the SSHRC Institutional
Grant awarded to Laurier. I also wish to thank the organisers of the Conference,
Matt Worley, and the two anonymous reviewers.
1 Sex Pistols
class but rather their restricted
access to secure private spaces or the means to travel abroad in pursuit
of sexual encounters.94 While more research needs to be done, to date
there is little evidence of the existence in Scotland for this period of gay
subcultures, networks of male prostitutes or known cruising sites, with
the first case of the use of public toilets as a homosexual meeting point,
a feature of queer life elsewhere, not surfacing until 1895.95 Instead, meetings
between men seeking sex appear to have been primarily