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  • Punk ideologies

    Punk ideologies


    • Punk ideologies are a group of varied social and political beliefs associated with the punk subculture. In its original incarnation, the punk subculture originated out of working class angst and the frustrations many were feeling about economic issues and the bourgeois hypocrisy and neglect of working people and their struggles to survive. It was primarily concerned with concepts such as pro working-class, anti-establishment, equality, freedom, anti-authoritarianism, anti-corporate culture/corruption, anti-war, free-thought and non-conformity being one of its main tenets: An absolute rejection of mainstream crass culture and its values. It continued to evolve its ideology as the movement spread throughout North America from its origins in England and New York and embrace anti-racist and anti-sexist belief systems.

      Punk ideologies are usually expressed through punk rock music, punk literature, spoken word recordings, punk fashion, or punk visual art. Some punks have participated in direct action, such as protests, boycotts, squatting, vandalism, or property destruction.

      Punk fashion was originally an expression of nonconformity, as well as opposition to both mainstream culture and the status-quo. Punk fashion often displays aggression, rebellion, and individualism. Some punks wear clothing or have tattoos that express sociopolitical messages. Punk visual art also often includes those types of messages. Many punks wear second hand clothing, partly as an anti-consumerist statement.

      An attitude common in the punk subculture is the opposition to selling out, which refers to abandoning of one's values and/or a change in musical style toward pop and embracing anything in mainstream capitalist culture or more radio-friendly rock in exchange for wealth, status, or power. Selling out also has the meaning of adopting a more mainstream lifestyle and ideology. The issue of authenticity is important in the punk subculture—the pejorative term poseur is applied to those who associate with punk and adopt its stylistic attributes but are deemed not to share or understand the underlying values or philosophy.



      • O'Hara, Craig, The Philosophy of Punk, AK Press, 1999
      • Garofalo, Rebee, Rockin' The Boat: Music and Mass Movements, South End Press, 1991
      • Sinker, Daniel, We Owe You Nothing, Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews, Akashic Books, 2001
      • Taylor, Steven, False Prophet: Fieldnotes from the Punk Underground, Wesleyan University Press, 2003
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