Fun With Theory: A Sociological Discussion Of The Punk Rock Movement

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Fun With Theory: A sociological Discussion of the Punk Rock Movement
Kayla Petrey
The punk rock movement arose between 1974 and 1976 in the United States and the United Kingdom (Beckman, 2014 p. 302; Saben, 2012, p. 3; Cogan, 2014, p.1) The two bands which are regarded as the pioneers of this movement were the Sex Pistols, emerging from the United Kingdom and the Ramones, emerging from the United States (Saben. 2012, p. 14). This contemporary movement was characterized by fast misanthropic music which was often politically motivated or centered on social inequality and subversion of the dominant structures and paradigms of mainstream society. Punk music remained relatively obscured from dominant media until the late 1980’s, due to the fact that it was not readily available for purchase through conventional music retailers, but instead was largely transmitted via live performances and on college radio stations ( Beckman, 2014, p. 308).
Punk fashion also played a large role in in conveying punk ideologies. The advent of punk fashion was characterized as rebelliously anti-materialistic. Generally disheveled, often consisting of dirty, simple clothes ranging from jeans and a leather jacket, to boots and spikes to, low-class or second-hand "dress" clothes (Saben 2012, p. 59; Beckman, 2014, p. 302; Cogan, 2014, p.2). Punk apparel, much like punk music was explicit in its intent to raise a middle finger in to the capitalist establishment, which for the most part, punks felt marginalized from. Although fashion was an important component in proclaiming punk ideologies, music was always at the heart of the movement.
The underground music scene was integral to the collective punk ideologies to resist conforming to the dominant culture by acting as producers of media rather than just consumers. The punk subculture created an atmosphere of fun and social solidarity through its emphasis on rebellion, individualism, and mockery of social institutions. Beckman (2014) described it as an “anarchic lifestyle” that brought punks together while simultaneously defining their “civil society” ( p.306). For Cogan (2014), punk rock really was always about taste, about defining oneself as outside the mainstream, not through economic position or a heightened class consciousness, but through an underground society of musical taste where ones' identity was validated through what one accepted and rejected as legitimate forms of musical expression (p. 5).
Punk rock in England developed as part of a working class sub-culture, whereas in the U.S it functioned as more of a counter-culture. The punk rock movement in the UK emerged at a time of economic despondency and social unrest in the decades following World War II. Many attribute the pioneering of this social collective to the band the Sex Pistols (Beckman, 2014 p. 302; Saben, 2012, p. 3; Cogan, 2014, p.1) who’s fashion, angsty performance, and anti- establishment viewpoints paved the way for contemporary punk musicians ; most notably, their anthem "Anarchy in the U.K.” ( Saben, 2012, p. 59). The American punk rock movement originated with the Ramones (Cogan, 2014, p.3). Unlike the Sex pistols, the Ramones music revolved around issues related to the youth culture. Their musical and aesthetic style was in part a reaction against the wave of disco and pop music that dominated mainstream music scene in the 1970s (Saben, 2012, p, 81), although it was predominantly in reaction to turmoil’s such as “ the inner city devastation of urban renewal projects, the energy crisis, soaring unemployment, runaway crime rates and drug addiction, the moral collapses of Vietnam and Watergate “ (Beckman, 2014, p. 306-308) .
Enter Title of Your Paper Capitalizing Every Important Word In its infancy, the punk movement was characterized by its own normative values such as the do-it-yourself (DIY) work ethic and aesthetic, cynicism towards political institutions, an anti-capitalist mentality, more