This thesis explores the production of DIY punk alternative cultures, communities and identities as activism. Based on an ethnographic study of DIY punk in North East England, it combines and integrates the disciplinary approaches of sociology, cultural studies and geography. Using an interpretivist epistemology, the research focuses on DIY punk participants’ subjective realities and experiences, through participant observation, of punk events and shows, and interviews. Carried out by a researcher who was both embedded in the scene, as a punk participant, and outside it, as an academic PhD student, it enhances methodological and epistemological debates about the ‘insider/outsider’ research stance and subjectivities. This thesis promotes DIY punk as a relevant and rich area for scholarship. It theorises DIY punk participation as cultural production (Moore, 2007), existing within a framework of activism, as participants attempt to bring into being ‘hoped-for futures’ (Chatterton & Pickerill, 2010) using a multitude of tactics. Identifying multi-layered and multi-scalar acts of resistance, the narrowness of the concept of activism in the literature is critiqued. A more inclusive conceptualisation of activism, as more than oppositional, is proposed. A DIY ethic is theorised as anti-capitalist and interconnected with other complexly interwoven ideologies and politics. The everyday challenges that participants face, in negotiating a DIY punk ethic, and the interface between DIY punk culture and ‘mainstream’ society, are examined. Participants narratively construct DIY punk through ongoing negotiations, which affect how participants produce and interact with and in DIY punk spaces. The research contributes to scholarship on punk and community by arguing that DIY punk cultural production is strengthened by notions of community. It has wider relevance by exploring the meaning of community in a unique cultural context. It offers a definition of community that recognises DIY punk communities as imagined (Anderson, 1991) but sensitive to the significance of place.
|Publication status||In preparation - Mar 2015|