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Subcultural Media Practices: Punk Culture - Essay Example

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Topic: Subcultural Media Practices: Punk Culture Dick Hebdige wrote one of the first and most influential studies into the nature of identity and communication in punk culture with the publication of “Sub-Culture: The Meaning of Style” in 1978 during the time when the first punk bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Ramones, and others were forming in urban centers in the UK and America…
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Subcultural Media Practices: Punk Culture
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Download file to see previous pages This dichotomy and tension fuels much of the anger and tension in punk movement, and also is the basis for numerous works of self-criticism relating the punk movement to various types of “sell out” or “corruption,” with artists accusing both themselves and others ironically of being co-opted by the consumer capitalist system of control it claimed to oppose on all levels. The nihilistic aspect of punk in this context points to the recognized and ever-present threat of being caught up and controlled by the system, something the punks themselves by nature cannot escape without a complete transformation of society. When the movement is unable to actually produce the mass-social change it advocates, the de facto and omnipresent objective reality from the beginning, it must adapt to minority status through the extreme use of symbols of social fashion and dress, such as the hairstyles, clothing, and makeup used by punk artists. The theme of resistance dominating the punk movement is rooted in this fatal and tragic dichotomy in creative art, and the development of this theme dictates the ideological movement of punk culture across decades. Simonelli writes in “Anarchy, Pop and Violence: Punk Rock Subculture and the Rhetoric of Class, 1976-78,” “Punk reintroduced working-class and youth values of rebellion into British culture, exposing the wider public to the privations of youth in the economic climate of the era. Punk values were promoted through rhetoric both old and new - for example, with the repeated use of words like 'anarchy', 'pop' and 'violence'... But the subculture's efforts to protest the professionalisation of British society were doomed to failure because the musicians involved could not help becoming professionalised themselves. Young people came to appreciate less iconoclastic versions of punk, especially 'new wave' music. Thus the punk subculture, for all its rhetoric, ultimately failed to create a 'revolution' in British culture.” (Simonelli, 2002) Professionalism as Simonelli defines it can be expressed alternatively as careerism, wage slavery, or corporate control of the lifestyle, something desperately avoided and resisted at all costs by the punk movement. The anarchist philosophy of Situationalism as expressed by Debord in the “Society of the Spectacle” and other works included an advanced critique of modern capitalism and the way that mass-media was being used as a form of propaganda or mind control in the era. The anarchists were also socially informed by anti-war and pacifist groups, as well as the defining ideological conflict of the 20th century, the battle between Marxism and Capitalism in political theory. The bricolage or cut-up style preferred by the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and other early punk groups in their posters and album art points to the manner in which cultural symbols were sampled and liberated from their original context, to take on new meaning in the re-assembly. This was the very same manner in which the punk sub-culture practiced “conspicuous consumption” in the manner described by Hebdige, but Hebdige de-emphasizes the new constructs of community and meaning that did exist contra the mainstream ideology and did allow ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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