This article offers a critical provocation and reconceptualisation of the DIY/punk nexus, both to challenge the standard critical narrative of punk as originary DIY culture and to liberate the broader practice of DIY from the limits of punk. It critically traces the development of the discourse of DIY both in original British punk and in what has become punk studies, mapping the development of the scholarly orthodoxy. It then challenges the latter via an interrogation of aspects of punk that have been rpeatedly presented in the scholarship as evidence of its DIY-ness: punk mediation, instrumentation, and participation. These three then constitute a context for the central and more detailed critical exploration of the most widely accepted DIY/punk practice, which is also read as ‘non-DIY.’ The article concludes by widening the critical gaze via a call for DIY to undergo a process of depunking.
It’s open access CC-BY-NC, meaning you can read and download it for free, via here.
In its tracing of ‘DIY’ the new article is in some ways a little bit of a revisit to the introduction and ideas in my 1998 collection, DIY Culture: Party & Protest in Nineties Britain (Verso). It’s also the final part (probably) of my small project to extend and refigure UK punk studies, which consists as well of three other pieces in recent years:
- ‘Rethinking the cultural politics of punk: anti-nuclear and anti-war (post-)punk popular music in 1980s Britain’ (2021) chapter.
- ‘“They’ve got a bomb:” sounding anti-nuclearism in the anarcho-punk movement in Britain, 1978-84′ (2019) article.
- ‘Punk rock and disability: cripping subculture’ (2016) chapter.
Also here, my role as lead editor of The Oxford Handbook of Punk Rock. Hopefully that 32-chapter collection, though all chapters are available individually online and have been for two or three years, might actually be published in complete form by Oxford University Press some time soon.