The Oxford Handbook of Punk Rock

Crass, Feeding of the 5000, 1979

This large-scale new international publishing project was contracted with Oxford University Press in 2017: The Oxford Handbook of Punk Rock. I had been gestating and working on the idea for a couple of years or more, on and off, but things really started happening when I invited the terrific music journalist and scholar Dr Gina Arnold to be co-editor, and she was so enthusiastic about and engaged with it.

Our wonderful editor at Oxford (NYC office), Anna-Lise Santella, has been committed and fully supportive since practically the day my initial tentative exploratory email landed in her inbox. (It was a great opening correspondence. Me: ‘Hello, would you like an Oxford Handbook of Punk Rock?’ She, 10 minutes later: ‘Yes!’) Further information about the more than 40 Oxford Handbooks that deal specifically with music is available here.

The punk project had support also from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, as part of a 12-month post-doctoral position working on DIY Cultures and Participatory Arts (2017), within my Connected Communities Leadership Fellowship role. Dr Lucy Wright, Senior Research Associate, undertook an initial literature review for the book, about the scope and state of the art of punk studies today, and we also organised a Punk in the Provinces symposium at Norwich Arts Centre, which sold out.

We contacted key researchers and writers in the field, both well-established ones and more recent ones with something new to say, to invite them to be involved by contributing a chapter. We ended up working with about 35 authors in total, though one or two fell by the wayside, as happens with most edited collections. (Or maybe it’s just the people I hang around with.) It got a bit, uh, fiery sometimes, not gonna lie! Punk rock, baby.

Helen Reddington’s chapter features in Oxford Handbooks monthly blog

We have edited all chapters, received revised final drafts back from our authors, sorted out images with them, and sent digital packages off to OUP.  They have been copyedited and proofed, gone through the production process, and every individual chapter has now been published.

As is the practice with Oxford Handbooks, each chapter is published online first and then all together as the hard copy of the book. Here you can see all the chapters published individually online. Here, if you are interested, you can read my own chapter, ‘Rethinking the cultural politics of punk: anti-nuclear and anti-war (post-)punk popular music in 1980s Britain.’

My current (…) understanding is that our book as a whole will be published in a print edition in 2022, 2023, 2024, with a co-authored introduction. Below is a table of contents showing authors and chapter titles.

The further [punk] recedes into the distance, the more important it seems. (Severin, bassist in Siouxsie and the Banshees, 1994)

Now approaching 50 years after punk rock, rather than the 20 of Severin’s observation, it still demands critical attention. From “White Riot” to Riot Grrrl to Pussy Riot, Never Mind the Bollocks to Nevermind, DIY to never gonna die(t), the Slits to We Are Lady Parts, punk rock to punk studies, it has marked or stained—it marks or stains—our musical and cultural history and practice. So should that then be not “50 years after” but “50 years of punk rock”? Read on … 

George McKay and Gina Arnold. Editors’ Foreword

1 Lucy Wright. “Enjoy it, destroy it?” 40 Years of Punk Rock Scholarship

Part One. Reconsidering Punk Rock

2 Nick Crossley. The Punk Worlds of Liverpool and Manchester, 1975-1980

3 Elizabeth K. Keenan. Riot Grrl: Historiography and Nostalgia

4 Pete Dale. Punk as Folk: Continuities and Tensions in the UK and Beyond

5 Michael Goddard. “This is Radio Clash:” First-Generation Punk as Radical Media Ecology and Communicational Noise

6 Mike Dines. Art School Manifestos, Classical Music and Industrial Abjection: Tracing the Artistic, Political, and Musical Antecedents of Punk

Part Two. Oh Bondage, Up Yours! Gender and Punk

7 Helen Reddington. Danger, Anger, and Noise: The Women Punks of the Late 1970s and Their Music

8 Shayna Maskell. “We’re Just a Minor Threat:” Minor Threat and the Intersectionality of Sound

9 Jessica A. Schwartz. Let’s Talk about Sex: The Ear as Reproductive Organ

10 Kirsty Lohman. Queer and Feminist Punk in the UK

Part Three. Identity is the Crisis, Can’t You See

11 Marlén Ríos-Hernández. “Don’t be Afraid to Pogo:” Latinx Punk in LA

12 Curran Nault. Queer Punk, Trans Forms: Transgender Rock and Rage in the Necropolitical Age

13 Marcus Clayton. Guilty of Not Being White: On the Visibility and Othering of Black Punk

14 Andy Bennett. Punk and Aging

15 Lucy O’Brien. Identity? How 1970s Punk Women Live It Now

Part Four. Safe European Home: From the Provincial to the International

16 Matthew Worley. “I Don’t Care about London:” Punk in Britain’s Provinces, circa 1976-1984

17 Ivan Golobov. Punk in Russia: From the “Declassed Elements” to the Class Struggle

18 Asya Draganova. The “New Flowers” of Bulgarian Punk: Cultural Translation, Local Subcultural Scenes, and Heritage

19 Paula Guerra. Iberian Punk, Cultural Metamorphoses, and Artistic Differences in the Post-Salazar and Post-Franco Eras

20 Jim Donaghey. Punk in Belfast, Northern Ireland: Critical Perspectives on the Troubles and Post-conflict “Peace”

Part Five. Neat Neat Neat? Style, Sound, Media

21 Monica Sklar and Mary Kate Donahue. From Punk to Poser: T-Shirts, Authenticity, Postmodernism, and the Fashion Cycle

22 Russ Bestley. “Kicks in Style:” A Punk Design Aesthetic

23 Mary Fogarty Woerhel. The Art of Slouching: Posture in Punk

24 Ben Halligan. World’s End: Punk Films from London and New York, 1977-1984

25 Samantha Bennett. Sound Recordists, Workplaces, Technologies, and the Aesthetics of Punk

26 Kevin C. Dunn. Fanzine Scenes

Part Six. Nevermind: the Shifting Politics of Punk

27 Joe O’Connell. “Caught in a Culture Crossover!” Rock Against Racism and Alien Kulture

28 George McKay. Rethinking the Cultural Politics of Punk: Anti-nuclear and Anti-war (Post-)punk Popular Music in 1980s Britain

29 Judith A. Peraino. Pussy Riot, Punk on Trial

30 Daniel S. Traber. You Ain’t no Punk, You Punk: the Goddamn Alt-right

31 Ryan Moore. Touch Me I’m Rich: From Grunge to Alternative Nation

32 Gina Arnold. Death in Vegas