Networks of sound, style and subversion

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.

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‘This is the most recent contribution to punk scholarship and in many ways one of the most sophisticated, both in terms of empirical research and data analysis.'
WILKINSON, D., WORLEY, M. and STREET, J. '“I Wanna See Some History”: Recent Writing on British Punk', Contemporary European History, pp. 1–15
2016

‘This book should appeal ultimately not just to scholars of punk or post-punk, but also to anyone interested in the process through which musical styles emerge.'
Brian F. Wright, Fairmont State University
Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
June 2016

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