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The punk and post-punk worlds of Manchester, London, Liverpool and Sheffield, 1975–80

This book argues that punk and post-punk, whatever their respective internal stylistic heterogeneity, enjoyed 'sociological reality' in Samuel Gilmore's and Howard Becker's sense. It elaborates the concept of 'music worlds', contrasting it with alternatives from the sociological literature. In particular it contrasts it with the concepts 'subculture', 'scene' and 'field'. The book then outlines a number of concepts which allow us to explore the localised process in which punk took shape in a sociologically rigorous manner. In particular it discusses the concepts of 'critical mass' and 'social networks'. The book also applies these concepts to the London punk world of 1976. It considers how talk about punk migrated from face-to-face networks to mass media networks and the effects of that shift. Continuing the discussion of punk's diffusion and growth, the book considers how punk worlds took shape in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. In addition, however, the book offers a more technical analysis of the network structures of the post-punk worlds of the three cities. Furthermore, extending this analysis, and combining qualitative and quantitative forms of analysis, the book considers how activities in different local post-punk worlds were themselves linked in a network, constituting a national post-punk world.

Abstract only

, before punk ‘went national’. Introduction 21 In Chapter 7 I explore this process of ‘going national’ and the mechanisms involved. In particular I consider how talk about punk migrated from face-to-face networks to mass media networks and the effects of that shift and I reflect upon the ‘moral panic’ sparked by an early Sex Pistols interview and the way in which it amplified audiences for punk (while closing down opportunities for performance and recording in the short term). Finally, I consider the specific and to some extent unique case of what was to become punk

in Networks of sound, style and subversion