Punk Subculture Research Paper

Words: 1548
Pages: 7

Bricolage and the Visual Language of Punk


The concept of bricolage is highly intertwined with punk subculture. This connection exists within visual language and extends beyond into values and beliefs, with the punk movement itself being a bricolage of various ideologies. With an accessible, working-class nature, punk was available to anyone who subscribed to the ideals exuded by the subculture. Bricolage is an integral part of the punk movement, furthering notions of improvisation and DIY making the movement popular among this societal group. Accessibility was highly important, with anyone able to create punk music or incorporate a punk style into their own wardrobes without having to spend anything or acquire skill. Perfectionism
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The movement has been described as ‘a youthful reaction against older generations, considered oppressive and outdated, as a product of the newly recognized and influential youth culture.’ (Price, Shannon, 2004). Punk subculture is characterized by anti-establishment opinions and the celebration and encouragement of personal freedom. Intentions were to go against the grain and disrupt the flow of what was considered ‘mainstream’ at the time. This was relevant to many different pockets of expression within the subculture, including music, art, style and views/opinions. When it comes to expression through the medium of music, punk as a genre embraced a ‘raw’ essence with D-I-Y ethics at it’s core. This allowed for great accessibility, particularly for the working class youth of Britain. Musical skill was not an important value held by punks and so participation in the creation of punk music was not limited to skilled musicians, trained in vocals or particular instruments. Amateur punk bands became rife during the mid to late 1970’s with the belief that music did not have to sound polished to be considered good. Punk subculture tended to appreciate a more ‘genuine’ and raw sound and so polished music was actually considered unappealing to many punks. Lyrics expressing punk ideologies such as non-conformity and individualism were the highlight of many songs within the punk genre. Alongside a simple structure, basic chords and limited instrumentation, a loud and aggressive vibe was at the forefront of this music, setting it apart from many other genres of the time. In his book, ‘Subculture: The Meaning of Style, Dick Hebdige writes that punk ‘appropriated the rhetoric of crisis which had filled the airwaves and editorials throughout the period and translated it into tangible (and visible) terms’ (Hebdige, 1979), this was