*Active Resistance within Hardcore Punk Counter Culture* By Natalie Wardle (BA Fashion Media Studies)
To all my tutors who have assisted me over the course of my degree, in particular David Garner, Rachel Velody and Mandeep Ahira I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude. Everyone who participated within my magazine and trend research I would also like to say a big thank you. This includes (in no particular order) Kaamilah Nahaboo, Mike Title, Gary Donnelly, Johanna Viden, Shant Bablanian, Jason Best and Simo Clothing.
TABLE OF CONTENTS (Page 2-49)
Abstract For this investigation regarding the existence on active resistance within Hardcore Punk culture, I will be choosing the 70% theory and 30% practical pathway; this will be formulated through the presentation of an online magazine in viewable PDF format, and also a printable fanzine version. Within this report the following areas of interest will be addressed; D.I.Y ethic, N.Y.C Hardcore scene, Motivation of movement, Authenticity, Resistance, Active Nihilism, Anti-consumerism, Alienation as trend and Potential for productivity.
Active resistance occurs where people are taking specific and deliberate action to resist the change. It may be overt, such as public statements and acts of resistance, and it may be covert, such as mobilizing others to create an underground resistance movement.
Overt active resistance, although potentially damaging, is at least visible and you have the option of using formal disciplinary actions (although more positive methods should normally be used first). When it is covert, you may also need to use to covert methods to identify the source and hence take appropriate action. http://changingminds.org/disciplines/change_management/resistance_change/sign_resist ance.htm
Chapter 1 Introduction The subject of my independent project is the existence of Active Resistance within Hardcore Punk Counter Culture, exploring its beginnings within the antiestablishment scene that existed in downtown New York during the mid-early 80â€™s through its influence on the current British â€˜Skinsâ€™ youth culture, and the connection of Alienation within fashion especially the alienation as a condition of mind and how this can be embodied within dress. The primary inspiration for this topic of study was Natalie Wardle
4 initially generated through my participation within this underground scene. The reoccurring theme of resistance was one of deep personal relevance to me, as someone originating from a working class background, facing the day to day frustration and limitations which often arise from this situation. The current furore caused by the successful online petition for Rage Against the Machine to make last year’s Christmas number one spot also proved a catalyst for anti-consumerism within contemporary youth culture and incited my interest further resulting in the defining of a counter culture (counter=to be against the mainstream). To explore this in depth it is necessary to analyse the commoditisation of ‘Hardcore’ punk initiated by American bands such as Bad Brains and most famously Rage Against the Machine, and the investigation of Youth, Style and Resistance and the associated Bricolage of ‘pseudo-individuality’/ rejection of the social norms and what causes this (contemporary references include British band the Gallows and Rise Against) also exploring ethnicity exploring its branches in Rastafarian culture, Rap music and Skateboarding. Deconstructing Nietzsche’s Post Modern Active Nihilism and the creation of a ‘mode of being’ (referencing the Marx and Engel’s Manifesto) Roots of D.I.Y Punk ethic decoding the ‘hardcore’ lifestyle and community and investigating how it functions. Research includes a creative research book, individual interviews with participants of the scene, music reviews, viral feedback, underground trend photography, creative thematic mood boards, and most importantly an online magazine which this material has been included within. Existing publications of influence include in-particular free magazines/fanzines including Adbusters, Huck, Vice, Fly and Fear and Loathing.
Methods Barthes method of Semiotics and the study of signs as part of the Hardcore social community, are necessary to utilize when analysing the visual and thematic aspects of my own magazine independent project such as alienation, despair, nihilism, frustration and angst. The objectivity of semiotics is applicable to such areas as film analysis of the work of independent auteur Gus Van Sant, as well as my style shoot and trend research, and analysing secondary sources of material such as fanzines and albums. This is also incredibly useful when drawing upon Naomi Klein’s ideas of ‘no choice’ and ‘logo branding’ within campaign advertisements for labels de rigueur for the Hardcore consumer in East London, as bill boards are positioned in almost every central location, penetrating their idealist psyches which leads onto the idea of actualizing the logo.
The following theories have been chosen due to there accessible synthesize of the chosen theories alongside my own interdisciplinary approach. Throughout my research I realised there was very little studies on this subject in relation to my chosen sub-culture.
5 This mainly consisted of much online and magazine archival research, as well as film analysis of the independent auteurship of Gus Van Sant in conjunction with both Active Resistance and the critique of Hardcore Punk Counter Culture. For the visual aspect of research It was necessary to take the approach of semiotics depicting the notion of signs and mythology to authentically create a mood.
*Audience and Consumption
In terms of the analysis of the effect of brand advertising upon the target consumer, of the brands I have researched whilst conducting my secondary research, I found due to the counter culture’s roots and branches in various different fashion movements and music genres (e.g Skinhead, Rockabilly, Rap and Grunge) it proved virtually impossible to define a particular ethnicity, class or sexuality-this was also the case for the results of my target questionnaire relating to political questions of identities the role of ideology. Their past-times included primarily skateboarding, tattoos, independent film, going to gigs, online socialising and going to local clubs/bars.
The specific social group related to Hardcore Punk was mainly 18-30 ‘urbanites’ living within the East End region of London. Continuing on from Barthe’s Structuralist theorizing and his tireless attempts to dissect and reveal the misleading mechanisms of bourgeois culture, my aim was to expose the difference between the true followers of Active Resistance (who also happen to follow the trend of Hardcore) and the convincingly fake bourgeois who majoritively occupy the East London fashionable scene-often referred to as ‘posers’ or ‘magpies’ by originators due to their apparent picking and choosing of accepted alternative identities like children in a sweet shop (linking to the notion of ‘subcultural capital’ discussed later in this dissertation.
For my magazine I conducted direct interviews online and on the street for my trend research, as well as a singer of a Hardcore group, a tattooist, a skate photographer and a clothing wear company (as featured in my magazine). I decided to make it a highly visual mixed medium of contemporary détournement originally employed by the Situationist International (1957-1972). Adbusters 'subvertisements' and Nike’s 'detourn' adverts proved to be a point of inspirational influence. The original advertisement's imagery is altered by Adbuster to bring attention to the a-fore mentioned company's policy of manoveuring their production base to low cost-labour third-world 'free trade zones'. Nevertheless, the line between 'recuperation' and Natalie Wardle
6 'dĂŠtournement' as Naomi Klein comments in No Logo is thin. Conglomerates such as Nike, Pepsi or Diesel recently approached Culture Jammers and Adbusters and offered them profitable contracts in return for their participationin 'ironic' promotional campaigns. She ironically points out the drawing attention of merchandising produced in order to promote Adbusters' Buy Nothing Day, is a prime example of the recuperation of dĂŠtournement if ever there was one.
Part 2 Origins of Punk D.I.Y Ethic The DIY ethic (do it yourself ethic) refers to the ethic of being self-reliant by completing tasks oneself as opposed to having others who are more experienced or able complete them for you. It promotes the idea that an ordinary person can learn to do more than he or she thought was possible. DIY attitude does require the follower to possess the knowledge required to complete a given task. Without this, DIY is not an effective dogma at all and can at times be detrimental. The term can refer to "doing" anything at all including creative endeavours. Rather than undermine or showing disdain for knowledge or expertise, DIY champions the average individual seeking knowledge and expertise for him/her. Instead of using the services of others who have expertise, a DIY oriented person would seek out the knowledge for him/herself and is perfectly applicable to creative endeavours such as this multi-media investigation.
NYC Hardcore New York Hardcore (NYHC) refers to hardcore punk and metalcore music created in New York City and to the subculture associated with that music. New York hardcore grew out of the hardcore scene established in Washington, D.C., by bands such as Bad Brains and Minor Threat. New York City played a central role in the development of hardcore. An important scene emerged in 1981 with the emigration of the Bad Brains from Washington, DC.Roger Miret of Agnostic Front asserts that "We started using the term 'hardcore' because we wanted to separate ourselves from the druggy or artsy punk scene that was happening in New York at the time." "We were rougher kids living in the streets. It had a rougher edge".
Hardcore Punk Hardcore punk, often referred to as simply hardcore, is a subgenre of punk rock that originated primarily in North America (though, early examples could be found throughout the world) in the late 1970s. The new sound was generally faster, thicker, and heavier than earlier punk rock. Early hardcore has a quick tempo with drums and vocals in time, whereas modern hardcore punk has drums and vocals which may not be on beat with the tempo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardcore_punk
8 Hardcore spawned several fusion genres and subgenres, some of which experienced mainstream success, such as melodic hardcore, metalcore, and post-hardcore. In the United States, the music genre that became known as hardcore punk originated in different areas in the early 1980s, with centres of activity in California, Washington, D.C., New York City, Michigan, Texas and Boston. The origin of the term hardcore punk is uncertain. The Vancouver-based band D.O.A. may have helped to popularize the term with the title of their 1981 album, Hardcore '81.Until about 1983, the term hardcore was used sparingly, and mainly as a descriptive term. (i.e., a band would be called a "hardcore band" and a concert would be a "hardcore show"). American teenagers who were fans of hardcore punk simply considered themselves fans of punk – although they were not necessarily interested in the original punk rock sound of the mid-late 1970s (e.g., Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash, or The Damned). In many circles, hardcore was an in-group term, meaning music by people like us.
Hardcore Scene *‘Hardcore is much More Than a Look. Hardcore is a Lifestyle’. *‘If you are Hardcore, you don’t feel pain, or experience pain, or experience fear; you just tackle what-ever is given to you’- Hardcore Muscle Magazine
The word ‘scene’ is a modern definition commonly used by those in the know to describe certain subcultures and movements. It is also an alternative music scene, branches of alternative music scenes such as Hardcore, indie, ‘Fashion-x-core’ etc. are usually incredibly music-savvy and loyal to specific genre (typically Hardcore, Metal). They consequently dress to exemplify. Scene kids usually sport facial piercings, tattoos and longer hair. The preferred look is androgynous and fresh and possessing an element of shock value attire includes tight jeans, metal tees, plastic jewellery, and heavy eye makeup.
Shows are not perceived as merely concerts, but often a means of socialization for those on the scene. Those people who partake in scene lifestyle often chose to date/socialize only with like-minded to them and are passionate about art, tattoos and piercings, civil rights etc. Scene style is not only a fashion statement, but is an all encompassing lifestyle. Many scene participants incorporate future plans into their lifestyle, especially including piercing, tattooing, working for magazines, musicians etc, this tends to cause congregation with one another. The MySpace website has created an internet revolution as a new means for ideas of scene subculture to flourish and progress incorporating socialising, bands and activities. Members design stylish and graphic profile pages; however, this results in many getting caught up in vacuous popularity contests in local areas as well as on the worldwide web and sometimes (as personally witnessed) drives Natalie Wardle
9 rifts in scenes. Groups of Hardcore scenesters start ‘crews’. This is divided between Purists and people who are only in it for the attention.
‘There was a time when hardcore was more than music, it was a movement. Anyone, regardless of how well they could play an instrument could express themselves musically in ways too aggressive, too brutal and in most circumstances too honest for even edgy mainstream music. It was a time when bands were willing to push the envelope while breaking all the rules, and didn't let the fact that they had to do it all by themselves stop them. True hardcore is an unstoppable message, totally separate from the countless trends (from Bleached hair to Girl Jeans) that have come and gone. It's going to a show with 9 kids or 1000 kids who are perfect strangers or your best friends, and knowing that everyone in the room with a soul is compelled with the same unmatched intensity, to "think how they want to think", to "do what they know is right" to "be what they want to be" and never let anyone even think they can stop them.’
‘A genre of music that started long ago from the punk movement. Eventually, it died down and now hardcore has become heavily confused with overrated untalented whiny-ass screamo/emo/trendXcore bands such as Atreyu, Norma Jean, and pretty much any other band worshipped by "scenesters" FAKE hardcore: Depressing poetry + eyeliner + nail polish + girl's jeans + hair covering one eye + screaming’-Jay
Varieties of Punk rock originated within downtown New York in the early '80s. It incorporates shouted vocals with manic, aggressive tempo and guitar featuring quick chord changes. Minor Threat, Bad Brains, SSD, and the Circle Jerks are known for this style. By 1986, a new style of hardcore came out of the New York scene. In the 90s hardcore took many different direction, bands like Lifetime and Turning Point took the late '80s sound (inparticular the Gorilla Biscuits) and added softer vocals and lyrics of the likes of DC and, Rites of Spring and Dag Nasty. Bands like Earth Crisis mixed hardcore with death metal and brutal guitars. Many bands of the moment continue to play this kind of early '80s fast, thrash style as well as the so-called '88 or youth crew type. Hardcore refers to all of these styles, though metalcore is best used to identify bands like Throwdown or Converge
Claims to Authenticity Deconstruction of authenticity and level of theory does not prevent participants in youth subcultures laying claim. Authenticity is at the heart of contemporary youth subcultures and club cultures. Widdicombes and Woofitts (1995) interviews with range of sub cultural 'members', participation explained by reference to emergence and maintenance of a 'true' inner self. Members own 'deepness' and 'authenticity' is constructed in relation to un-authenticity and shallowness of others. Authenticity then is accumulated.
Active Resistance in Mainstream Media In the wake of the 1991 success of Nirvana's Nevermind, underground music and subcultures in the United States became big business. New distribution networks emerged, touring routes were codified and regional and independent acts were able to access the national stage. Teenagers across the country declared themselves fans of independent music, and being punk became main-stream.
Despite many Hardcore bands never being accepted into the mainstream some of its early pioneers have garnered appreciation over time. Black Flag had an album listed on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, while Dead Kennedys have seen an album reach Gold status. More recently bands like the Gallows and Rise Against have seen some success playing hardcore on major labels; however most bands and scenes continue to exist within the underground.
Rage against the Machine-Political Activists The RATM campaign began with a Facebook group which asked: "Fed up of Simon Cowell's latest karaoke act being Christmas No 1? Me too... So who's up for a masspurchase of the track Killing In The Name as a protest to the X Factor monotony?" The song, released in 1992, features the repeated chant: "---- you, I wont do what you tell me."
More than half a million people downloaded Rage Against the Machine (the most famous political rap/metal band in the world) famously anti-authoritarian and expletive laden track â€œKilling in the Nameâ€? last Christmas beating X Factor winner Joe McElderelly what was seen as a broad protest against the increasing influence of manufactured pop music. Natalie Wardle
12 It is the first time a non-X-Factor song has made it to Christmas number one for four years and represents a major snub to the show’s creator Cowell who angrily described the campaign to deny him another number one slot as “very Scrooge”.
The music video Sleep now in the Fire by RATM for the song which was directed by the controversial Michael Moore, features the band playing in front of the New York Stock Exchange, intercut with scenes from a satirical take on the popular television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire re-christened "Who Wants to Be Filthy F#&%ing Rich". Quoted at the end of the song is Republican politician Gary Bauer stating that, "a band called 'The Machine Rages On' - er - 'Rage Against the Machine', that band is anti-family and it's pro-terrorist" Bauer (2000), following an incident outside of fellow Republican Alan Keyes' 2000 primary campaign town hall event, where Keyes jumped into a mosh pit formed while Rage Against the Machine was playing.
The shoot for the music video on January 26, 2000, caused the doors of the New York Stock Exchange to be closed. In fact the Stock Exchange locked its doors mid-day in response to fears of crowds gathering to watch the filming. This was not recorded as a closure as trading on the exchange floor continued uninterrupted. "We decided to shoot this video in the belly of the beast", said Moore (2000), who was detained by police for an hour and threatened with arrest. The band was escorted from the site by security, after band members attempted to gain entry into the Exchange. The video was nominated at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Rock Video but lost to Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff", causing a comical incident involving bassist Tim Commerford climbed a large piece of the award show set in protest of losing to Limp Bizkit.
Black Flag Black Flag was an American punk rock band formed in 1976 in Hermosa Beach, California. They are widely considered to be one of the first hardcore punk bands. Black Flag forged a unique sound early on that mixed the raw simplicity of the Ramones with atonal guitar solos and frequent tempo shifts. The band was also known for the intense and evocative lyrics found in their songs, most of which were penned by Ginn. Like other punk bands of this era, Black Flag gave voice to an anti-authoritarian, non-conformist message, featuring songs punctuated with descriptions of isolation, neurosis, poverty, and paranoia, themes that would be explored further when Henry Rollins joined the group as lead singer in 1981. Most of the band's material was released on Ginn's independent label, SST Records. Black Flag wasâ€”and remainsâ€”well respected among their underground culture, with their influence primarily in their tireless promotion of a self-controlled DIY ethic and aesthetic. They are often regarded as pioneers in the movement of underground do-ityourself record labels that flourished among the 1980s punk rock bands. Through seemingly constant touring throughout the United States and Canada, and occasionally Natalie Wardle
14 Europe, Black Flag established an extremely dedicated fan base. Many other musicians would follow Black Flag's lead and book their own tours, utilizing a word-of-mouth network. 1 Over the course of the 1980s, Black Flag's sound, as well as their notoriety, evolved in ways that alienated much of their early punk audience. As well as being central to the creation of hardcore, they were part of the first wave of American West Coast punk rock and are considered a key influence on the punk subculture. 2
Bad Brains Bad Brains is an American hardcore punk band formed in Washington, D.C. in 1977. They are widely regarded as among the pioneers of the genre, though the band's members objected to the term "hardcore" to describe their music.
Originally formed as a jazz fusion ensemble under the name Mind Power, Bad Brains developed a very fast and intense punk rock sound known as hardcore punk and was often played faster and more emphatically than the music of many of their peers. The unique factor of the band's music was the fact that they played more complex rhythms than that of other hardcore punk bands, also adapting non-punk style riffs/solos into their songs. Bad Brains were also an adept reggae band, and religious followers of the Rastafarian movement. Cypress Hill were originally called DVX, the name was changed after Mellow Man Ace left in 1988. 2
16 Cypress Hill is an American rap/rock group from South Gate, California. Cypress Hill was the first Latino group to have platinum and multi-platinum albums, selling over 18 million albums worldwide. They are one of the most well known groups in West Coast rap and are critically acclaimed for their first two albums Cypress Hill were notoriously banned from American chat show Saturday Night Live after Muggs smoked a joint on-air and the band trashed their instruments while playing their second single "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That". The band headlined the Soul Assassins tour with House of Pain and Funkdoobiest as support, then performed on a college tour with Rage Against the Machine and Seven Year Bitch. In 1993, Cypress Hill also had two tracks on the Judgment Night soundtrack, teamed up with Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth.
Textual Analysis Gus Van Sants's Elephant
The idea of foreclosure and its implications with the Nietzchean opposition of active and passive nihilism within Elephant (Van Sant . passive nihilism as that state of apathy resulting from “living a stupid self-satisfied life without great passions”, which invokes the opposite form of conscious self-destruction. (8) Zizek argues that freedom in contemporary society is devoid of the more “radical dimension” of true democracy, existing instead as the watered-down freedom to choose lifestyle. (9) Zizek also sees in the pervasiveness of virtual realities (such as the Internet) a further disconnection from authentic experience. The characters in Elephant are significant to the notion of active and passive nihilism. The adult characters present apathy or disconnection; their lifestyles – particularly Alex’s parents,revealed through the lifeless atmosphere of the family home – suggest an arrival of an unquestioned comfort zone, or a sense of passive nihilism. Alex and Eric attempt to break out of their transparent, but nonetheless prescribed realities: a bid for active nihilism.
Utilising the web as a platform for Void I was able to interact with members of the UK Hardcore online community, who have a common culture. The online questionnaire, the summaries of findings which are in Appendix 1, convey an active engagement to social networking site Myspace belonging to this community and using these sites to upload photos to share. To enable one to become part of this community we have to in effect ask and be invited into the social circle. Within that ‘Hardcore’ community members are expected comply with certain codes and conventions to communicate “the same language, the same sorts of pictures, music” (Gillespie, Taynbee, 2006:13) once again relating to the concept of authenticity. Within Void (entitled Void due to its relation to Active Nihilism and sense of despair and Alienation from society) Magazine Engaging with my P.P.D/sketchbook I produced a lot visual/artwork to support the underlying theories.
Bricolage as a Revolt ''Form does not suppress the meaning, it only impoverishes it, puts it at a distance, it holds it at ones disposal ''-Roland Barthes (here is an opposition to Bricolage). Style of Natalie Wardle
18 subculture takes normal, innocent objects, and exposes the contradictions, posing a treat to all that is 'normal'. Transformed into a refusal, a threat against common sense. Ideologies regarding glamour and appearances transformed. 'Cultural capital' establishes social and institutional structures which sets deviants up to fail. Subcultures such as Hardcore are finding modes of expression vital to their existence. Throughout history, an outlet for the African-American culture has been through music as a form of protest. Yet each one was ultimately appropriated by dominant white culture. (Marky Mark or Beastie Boys (rap, etc) became 'symbolically but politically meaningless.
Bricolage and Pseudo Individuality Those who do oppose mass culture, such as subcultures, are eventually brought back into line by being incorporated within it. All revolutionary subcultures are eventually assimilated back into the system. Everything that is other will be normalized. Since the Punk movement of the 70's, Bricolage has been both a way to defy the meanings of mass culture, and a way for commodity culture to appropriate and incorporate subcultural styles. Challenged middle class norms of propriety and violated modernist commandments. However Punk was re-appropriated back into mass culture.
Commercialization of Hardcore Bricoleur (fashion)
http://legacy.lclark.edu/~soan370/glossary/forcedbricoleur.jpg The Union Bay ad (ref). Skate culture, dreads, a pierced lip, tattoo (on her back) retro style assembled under the name Union Bay (once again...is it the shirt they are selling?) Semiotic accessories reincorporated to stand for a style of individuality. Fundamental difference between the first order bricoleur and the second-order advertising bricoleur, motivated by the exchange values of images that appear different. Through counterbricolage, mass culture has been able to pull culturally subversive subcultures back into the commodity system. This same action normalizes the uncommercialized. *The illusion of choice, these ads rein-still and re-motivate/desire. Fuelling desires which can never be fulfilled.
(photography by Kaamilah Nahaboo) â€˘ Vans and Diesel advertisements below as featured in Vice Magazine signifies a superior/alternative way of living. Touching on the situationist movement of Punk with the menacing image of Johnny Rotten and inverting it to fit into this rather exclusive, all encompassing sense of idealistic bricolage.
All Saints (2009) http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_R-5kp8rvgMA/SsiCJ1DMHI/AAAAAAAAJNw/lC2XBO38W_Q/s400/allsaints.jpg
• Current revival of the ‘Hardcore’ trend can be seen in current campaigns for corporate brands including Levis, Nike, Adidas, Converse, Diesel, Urban Outfitters, Fred Perry and All Saints, thisi has also seen the overnight success of alternative models such as Aygness Deyn, Luke Worrel and Kez Glozier (both seen below). Natalie Wardle
http://www.adrants.com/images/diesel_be_stupid.jpg Natalie Wardle
25 http://lh5.ggpht.com/_OTihsUbQdqc/SYsdvpxvVsI/AAAAAAAAIPs/rGYHW8hKxRo/l evisunbuttoned3.jpg
Space a Global Culture? Culture category: Class, gender and race are produced differently and diverged in spaces and places such as streets and shopping malls which in turn has begun to amount in the GLOBALISATION of British youth culture. The emergence in popularity of brands like Nike, Levis, Playstation, Coca Cola and MTV and international pop stars, echo this point in their resulting commoditization and homogenisation of the next generation also known as TWIZZLERS (due to Twitter, Turkey Twizzlers). Global cultural development also=hybrid cultures (chap 4)
Distinctions of Taste â€˜Rock always made declarations of artistic authenticity on live performance, disparaging dance and disco. Dance music through enculturalization, authenticated the record and DJâ€™(Thornton, 1995) subsequently, club cultures marked by series of internal authenticity claims and distinctions. Club cultures are taste cultures. Club cultures own hierarchies of what is authentic and legitimate popular culture. Club cultures riddled with cultural hierarchies...which can be briefly designated as the authentic versus the phoney, the 'hip' versus the 'mainstream' , and the 'underground' versus the media'. (Thornton, 95: 3-4)
Thornton follows Bourdieu (1984) in stating that distinctions never simply statements of equal difference; they claim authority, authenticity and the presumed inferiority of others. Concept of cultural capital or accumulated knowledge confers power and status e.g. education/ability to talk knowledgeably traditionally a form of upper middle class, economic capital (wealth) and social capital (whom you may know). Context of club cultures, young peoples codes predominate, Thornton suggests sub cultural capital. Clothes, records, haircuts, dance styles and knowledge=status and power on young people.
Sub cultural capital involves distinctions between 'us' (alternative, cool, independent, authentic, minority) and 'them' (mainstream, straight, commercial, false, majority). Distinctions within club culture: latest releases and dances, wearing most fashionable clothes, coolest DJ's, right clubs. Fast moving metamorphosis after metamorphosis. Maintaining sub cultural capital is a highly skilled task. Consumption is a creative and productive process.
Common Culture Paul Willis (1990) on common culture Willis argues young people have an active, creative and symbolic productive relation to commodities that are constitutive of youth culture. Produced by active usage 'grounded aesthetics': this is a making specific of the ways in which the received natural and social world is made human to them and made, to however small a degree (even if finally symbolic), controllable by them (Willis, 1990:22).
For Willis, contemporary culture is not meaningless or superficial surface but involves active creation of meaning. 'The symbolic creativity of the young based in everyday informal life and infuses meaning to entirety of the world as they see it' (Willis, 1990:98). After a series of interviews with young people it is proposed that they -have an active and creative relation to television: -are sophisticated and inventive viewers of advertising; -assert their personal competencies through dancing and the customization of fashion; -transform and recode the meanings of everyday objects
Willis argues, ironically, capitalism and the expansion of consumerism provided increased supply of symbolic resources for creative work. Capitalism (in form of work) maybe that form which escape is sought, but it also provides the means and medium (in the domain of consumption) by which to do so. Consumption is an active not a passive process.
In response, McGuigan (1992) argues Willis represents embracing of the pleasures of consumer sovereignty in the market place. According to McCuigan, 'Willis lost his convictions that there are grounds for criticizing current order or alternative visions. Others have suggested audiences/consumers are always active but 'do not guarantee a challenge to hegemonic order.'(Silverstone, 1994) Evidence that young people/consumers are active creators of meaning is overwhelming and irrefutable. Nevertheless, agency and activity do not have to imply resistance: can signify active appropriation of hegemonic values. Activity may be required to take up ideology. Unclear what 'resistance' means in post modern, post-authentic world.
Resistance Revisited Stuart Hall writes: Many different kinds of metaphors in which our thinking about cultural change takes place. Those which grip our imagination, govern out thinking Natalie Wardle
27 about scenarios and possibilities of cultural transformation, new metaphors, make us think about difficult questions in new terms (Hall, 1996: 287)
Metaphors of change are tools rather than analytic categories of truth and falsity. Hall (1996) metaphors of change to things: imagine if prevailing cultural hierarchies transformed; help us 'think' the relationship between the social and symbolic? To consider Resistance as a matter of utility and value rather than truth or falsity.
Resistance as Defence For Bennett, 'Resistance is an essentially defensive relationship to cultural power. Adapted by subordinate social forces in circumstances where forms of cultural power in question arise from a source clearly experienced as external and other' (Bennett, 98:171) Resistance issues from relationships of power and subordination where dominating culture seeking to impose itself on subordinate cultures from without. Consequently, through rituals saw spectacular youth cultures as essentially defensive reactions to new aggressive form/phase of capitalist expansion. Resistance rooted in conditions of working class culture, distinctly opposed to ruling class culture.
Inside the Whale Bipolarity of Bennett's reading of resistance less a strength than a problem. Capitalism is target for resistance yet discussion of youth culture suggested none of youth cultures texts, symbols and artefacts outside of capitalism. As bricoleurs of commodities, young people are immersed in, not separated from, consumer capitalism and the mass media. If resistance is taking place, it is happening inside the whale. Youth culture not authentic alternative spaces of resistance but places of negotiation positions of resistance strategic and themselves enabled by structures of power (Best, 97).
For Hall, strength of Resistance through Rituals lay in its conception of resistance 'as challenges to and negotiations of the dominant order which could not be assimilated to traditional categories of revolutionary class struggle' (Hall, 1996e:294). Hall is making the case resistance is not best understood as a reversal of order of high and low power and its absence. Contemporary cultural theory. Hall (1996e) argues, given up on idea of pure transcendence.
Nietzsche’s ‘Active Nihilism’ ‘We simply cannot be anything but revolutionaries-we shall not come to terms with any state of affairs where the bigot is at the top’- Nietzsche-Face Homo
Marxist interpretation of Nietzsche: Apart from Bourgeois Liberalism-the most significant and influential practices of this century’s thinking-for better or for worse: Nihilism 1: Nihilism (...) One most never ask whether the truth will be useful or whether it may be ones fatality. Strength which prefers questions for which nobody today has sufficient courage; the courage of the forbidden A New Conscience of Truths which have hitherto remained mute...-Nietzsche, Forward of Anti-Christ, 1888 The enterprise requires a probing intellect which shrinks from no discovery; it consists in examination of the psychological motivation of religious beliefs, metaphysical doctrines and morality (...) –Kaufmaun, Nietzsche. ‘The advent of Nihilism’ etymology within Greek philosophy and Buddhism of its ‘logic’ as work/term/concept contradicts itself ‘the true world’ 1st Nihilism: the degradation, devaluation and negation of this world. ‘The other world of true being and eternity’ (Parmenides’, Plato’s and religion’s being: if ‘what is does not become, what becomes cannot be...’ (Crepuscule..., La razon en filosofia#1) Christian morality: means of conservation. In short morality was main antidote against practical and theoretical Nihilism (Nietzsche: 92:32). From there comes about another nihilism, the ‘sense of veracity, highly developed by Christianity’ (pg.22) ‘the sense of turning against Christianity ‘discovers its teleology, its self-interested contemplation’ (pg.32) ‘true world’ is nothing but a mere fiction, thus creating disillusion, existential pessimism if God is nothing, if ‘he doesn’t exist then everything is necessarily false. ‘Second’ Nihilism is the devaluation of the first devaluation. ‘Metaphysical nihilism from ‘absolute morality of supra-sensible’, ‘absolute immorality of nature’ everything was in vain’ (pg. 33). Keeps us from change and revolution. Bricolage helps fuel this pseudo-individuality that gives us the illusion of choice (Adorno) (legacy.lclark.edu/glossary/bricolage)
Death of God ‘Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon?’-Nietzsche, thus spoke Zarathustra, V-2
‘Nothing man can rely on, nothing of any value other than the meaning given to it in an endless process.’ (Blanchot: 1977:121) God’s ‘death’ has been an unconsciously felt event. Nietzsche therefore has tried to make us feel the meaning and weight of that death (in the historical, cultural, political, ideological and philosophical sense, etc). In order to reflect on this event and the consequent devaluation of values. With the arrival of XX and XXI centuries is the possibility to overcome. ‘Positive’ doctrines such as: will to power ‘new metaphysics’ ‘inversion of values’ man as nature that rises above the world. The notion of Science/technology transforming the world beyond necessity to interpret. Art as ontological power in harmony with the beginning, as metaphysical sensual sense of Natalie Wardle
29 existence. Art’s simultaneously nihilist/anti-nihilist paradoxes praxis. Necessity and possibility of overcoming the chaos and crisis Marxist-consumerism as a certain new Christianity-without God, in conjunction with the Nietzschean critique of Christianity with God, could be understood and taken as second Nihilism.
The return of God ‘I am like God an Atheist-Hugo Margenat for Kauffman Nihilism is ‘involved with asserting the existence of God and robbing this world of ultimate significance and also denying God and robbing everything of meaning and value...’ (Kauffman: 1960:86) ‘God’s Death’ had more to do with the state of civilisation than metaphysical speculation about ulterior reality (pg.84) today ‘new’ characteristics, as a return to belief of the ‘first’ nihilism: the emptiness and disenchantment with social systems and their impotence to produce the promised happiness in the world ‘ethicalvulgar materialism’ ‘barbarian capitalism’ ‘crude socialism’ ‘resuscitated’ God ‘hell’, ‘purgatory’, ‘earth paradise’ depending on how much money, fame, mundane power, success you have.
Marx and Engels Communist Manifesto The Communist Manifesto cites the Fear towards Haphazard submission to ‘God’s finger’ becomes something not necessary in practise: ‘culture renders religion indispensable growth/power of culture=nihilist movement Continuance of Nietzsche’s ‘relentless struggle striving for conceptualization’ the Nihilistic phenomenon (origin, development, characteristics: normal/pathological, active/passive, perfect/imperfect, etc) ‘Critique of Nihilism’ 1887-1888 the cause of Nihilism a psychological, mental state (or as ideology), belief in disillusion, purely feigned world ‘finality,’ ‘unity’ and being’ 3 causes/effects: 1. Teleogical disillusion: there is no purpose; the becoming has no sense 2. Zero totality/generality: ‘unity’ behind the becoming as a fiction 3. Incredulity regarding a metaphyisical world a ‘true world’, there is only one becoming
Active Destruction: to the Nihilist ‘the no of act’ proceeds from his nature. The anihilation through judgement backed up by annihilation with the hand.’ (pg.67) ‘Salvation’ depends on whether we destroy our objects of veneration or we destroy ourselves. ‘Categories of reason’ ‘reason to devaluate whole’. (pg.76) The roots of Nietzsche’s ideology is to transform class-based society into an equalitarian, communist society ‘supra-historically’ ‘physiological’ an aristocracy of the spirit and a superior new man who should ‘tragically’ accept/overcome the world’s incessant and infinite becoming.
30 *Key proposition to ‘collate’ without deviations or distortions in reflections of value and sense of life whether continuous incessant becoming is worth the pain or not in this ‘new’ world. How to distinguish and use concepts once they have endured nihilization’s purification and the ironic humour of the new creators of sense. Social terrain of class/ideological struggle *nihilism as particular/general process produced by all other processes under shield of dominant mode of productions commodities/significations. *Dominant, hegemonic mode of production sophistically seeks to discredit, neutralize, exterminate of ‘appropriate’ alt. This dominant class ‘illusion/disillusion about eternity or permanence subsequently leads to propositions of terminations, to confuse relative end of an ideology culture in dominance. These propositions are always made from an ideology and a class (or class sector) never in its own name, but in the name of humanity, reflection of totality
2. Nietzsche’s philosophy/cardinal themes: the will to power, overran, resentment, perspectivism, and above all, eternal return. Alternative themes of resentment, alienation and neglecting the demanding needs of the consumer body. ‘Best’ of cases resentment or illusion/disillusion is exercise of impotence. ‘Worst’ collaboration of allied circles and dominant power, ignorant in its decadence.
Future of Nihilism in its Post Modern Stages
Failed experience of communism’s first socialist stage, type of ‘grave-digger’, the new subjectivity 2nd per cent after Marx and Nietzsche richer in health certain in power, best of strength attained (pg.40) is the product of this test of fire. Metaphysical/messonic residues of the old morality and false/hypnotic antitheses (modernism/postmodernism, capitation/bureaucratic socialism, market economy/ planned economy, material incentives/spiritual incentives, living subject/dead subject/individuality/collectivism, the Apollonian/Dionysian, dictatorship/democracy; national state/civil society; politics? Taking, appropriating, everything healthy, durable within the new/epochal knowledge/practises, take in good spirits ‘capitalisms return’ no longer ‘socialist faith’ ‘radical faith’ new generation will ‘forget’ the spirit of resentment, herd morality and nihilism of the ‘scoria’ (‘the most unhealthy species of man in Europe (within all classes) pg.38-39) Active, powerful since there is nothing outside of life that possesses value outside of the degree of power’. (pg.37)
Post Modernism In short: ‘post-modernism'' as a confused moment of modern nihilism on its way to world ''perfection'' and in the definitive colonial-global expansion of the capitalist mode of production.
The end of authenticity Theorists of post war popular music of past decades, youth culture and deviance (whether cultural studies of radical, or new deviancy, deviancy theory traditions) look beyond or beneath surfaces of media to discover the apparent ‘real’. The ‘Depth model’ ceases to appropriate for analysing post modern world, a culture categorised by flatness and shallowness and hyper-reality (Redhead 93:5) Style involves new Bricolage without reference to originals. The look and only the look, merely another mode of fashion. It is a pastiche rather than parody (Muggleton, 97) for Jameson (1984) The cannibalisation of styles from the past and present represents the tragic loss of artistic depth in favour of superficial pastiche.
Conclusion This theory is incomplete, needs to be concluded through future effect the possibilities of 'will to truth' limited. The existence of alienation in fashion is as popular as ever in the need for escapism increases in this time of social and economic uncertainty as creativity takes place 'inside the whale' of post modern consumer capitalism, the symbolic 'death of God equals loss of values can be partly attributed to this form of anti-consumerism and rejection mainstream culture. Upon investigating resistance against mainstream culture it immediately creates problems as modern subcultures love branding, and personally is a strong bone of contention as is the creation of ‘sub-cultural capital’ and contemporary fashion’s commodifying of the ‘alienated’ individual and this is something I have strongly reflected within my magazine and visual P.P.D. One significant way I have done this is through utilising modern technologies to conduct construction of my magazine and research and I have found it is actually conducive to the notion of D.I.Y ethic and ‘Everything Bad is Good for You’ as it can actually promote independent thinking and anti-capitalism.
Age is significant marker of classification and stratification. Descriptors identify categories of connotations e.g. capabilities and responsibilities. Youth=elastic band indicating ‘trouble’ and ‘fun’, fear and concern relating to the trend of alienation (ref Nike, Vans and Levis).
Early work of British cultural studies concerned with spectacular youth subcultures as manifestations of symbolic resistance to class hegemonic order. Subcultures are a distinct domain of subterranean values, magical solutions to structural problems of class. (a) Concept of homology, subcultural symbolic objects expressions of concerns and structural positions of youth groups; (b) Bricolage, unconnected symbols juxtaposed to create new meanings 9c) style, bricolage of symbols constituting coherent and meaningful expressions of resistance of opposition. Argument does not lead youth into black hole of insignificance. Creative usage of commodities to achieve a postmodern ‘cut’ n ‘mix’ by active, productive consumers represents meaningful activities, Natalie Wardle
32 production of hybrid youth cultures increasing global phenomenon, challenges conception culture has a secure place in the world, whether this is ‘resistance’ depends on factors. Resistance is relational, conjunctural and normative. Need to explain pop culture further since Hebdige’s studies in 79. Subcultures increasingly fragmented idea of a ‘grass-roots media-free authentic subculture cannot be sustained’.
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Literature Review Subculture No Logo (2000) Naomi Klein
No Logo has recently become a cultural manifesto for the capitalist critics globally. During this time of economic uncertainty, No Logo’s in-depth analysis of our corporate and branded world is as relevant and resonant as ever. Equal parts cultural analysis, political manifesto, mall-rat memoir, and journalistic exposé, No Logo is the first book to highlight a form of ‘new resistance’ from a pop-historical and clear economic perspective. It narrates a tale of rebellion and self-determination in the face of our daunting new branded world.
In the Culture Society; Art, Fashion and Popular Music (1999) Angela McRobbie
McRobbie investigates how different artistic and cultural practices develop in contemporary British consumer culture and examines the new populism of such artists as Tracy Emin and Damian Hirst... ‘Aestheticisation’ of everyday life’ and ‘after post-modernism’ are both prominent themes within this study of contemporary culture as well as the ‘new materialism’ and subsequent consequences of these issues within contemporary popular culture.
Subculture the Meaning of Style (1979) Dick Hebdige
Fascinating insight into the roots of subculture and particular genres looking at the roots and core of rebellion within youth movements. The aspects of commoditisation of youth subculture-and the act of representation is also explored. Hebdige adapted the concept of ‘bricolage’ to describe the act of meaning-laden objects (signs) seemingly violating the cosmology (moral hierarchies) consumerism binds many signs in cultural system.
Hiding in the Light Hebdige (1988) applies Foucauldian ideas regarding the micro-relations of power to the construction of youth as trouble and fun. Records 19th cent fear of the crowd as illegible and ungovernable led social reformers 33
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture Resistance through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post War Britain (1993)
Punk (2005) Colgrave and Sulivan
Diverse, historical narrative of beginnings and effects of punk in contemporary culture highlights include Dadaism in Art. ‘A painting that doesn’t shock isn’t worth painting’-Marcel Duchamp, Artist Marcel Duchamp was the forerunner of both the surrealist and Dada movements, envied by Andy Warhol he undoubtedly set the tone for cultural subversion. Warhol’s veneration of ordinary objects, such as Campbell’s soup cans, was arguable a pared-down rehash of Duchamp’s elevation of the common object into high art, the most notable piece of work being the urinal he exhibited signed R. Mutt Duchamp, disestablished art in the 1920’s, new set of rules from purely aesthetics to almost philosophical role in society. He also gave the Factory his royal seal of approval.
Punk also looks at the history of the movement firstly with the origins of the Beat Poets and later the Punk as a concept began with the Beat poets. William Burroughs has been called the grandfather of Punk. -Jim Fourrat. ‘I think it started with the Velvets, the whole thing, in about 1965. No-one was writing about real experiences-the Velvets did-Legs McNeil, writer on Punk Magazine. ‘The White Panthers had their own ‘politicians’-a minister of defence, a minister of culture...The Black Panthers came to visit and give talks and things. It was like a Viking commune. You had all the hippy, liberal stuff equality, revolution, liberation-but then you had all these women in long dresses cooking up great big meals of meat for men. They didn’t eat together. The men were in one room and the women in the other, seen and not heard’-Danny Fields.
‘I was the White Panthers minister of culture for New York. It was a political time, and there was something erotic, very beautiful and very moving about the Black Panthers Party...I went to meet with Bobby Seale (founder of the Black Panthers). It was really quite serious, and this is something that most people at Max’s Kansas City were not. ‘The MC5 were very influential in London. When we started the Pistols, apart from the English stuff like the Faces, the MC5, Jonathan Richman, the New York Dolls and The Stooges were all we listened to, Kick out the Jams was massive with us-Glen Matlock, bass players the Sex Pistols. ‘Max’s Kansas City was at the intersection of everything-William Burroughs in High on Rebellion. Richard Hell gave birth to the term ‘Blank Generation’. They actually had a song ‘I belong to the ‘Blank Generation’-Gene Krell (1997).
Youth, Style and Resistance Chris Parker (2000) Youth as Sub cultural Classifications 34
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture The following rhetoric questions are asked ‘When Does Youth End biologically? What do all 25 yr olds have in common? How is it possible that 'youth' seems to be getting longer in Western societies? Cultural classifications difference and diversity.’ 'Consciousness of otherness' Thornton (1997) deviance and class 'juvenile delinquency'collective solution -rejection and inversion of middle class values.’ Experimental Limits of Class Just as to the bourgeois, the ‘disappearance of property is the disappearance of production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to him identical with disappearance of all culture-Marx-Engels
Resistance is Conjectural Hall (1996e) strength of Resistance through Rituals (whatever it’s other limitations) lay in conception of resistance not as a fixed quality or act but relationally and conjuncturally. Resistance=act which defines itself for all time; meanings specific to particular times, places and social relationships.
Youth as a ‘Resistant’ culture addressed by Hall (1996) looking at what and who is youth culture resisting and the circumstances it takes place, also the manifestation of the form and where it is sited.
The ambivalence of the occupation of the space of resistance can be seen by the transformative character of the 'carnivalesque' which is the temporary reversal of the order of power through rituals, games, mockeries and general profanities of manners by the vulgar and the ‘king by the fool’ Hall (1996). However, power of 'carnivalesque' for Hall lies not in simple reversal of distinctions but in invasion of high by the low but to the very act of cultural classification by power. ‘Challenge Hall attributes to concept of the 'popular', transgresses boundaries of cultural power (for it is of value through classified as low). Exposing arbitrary character of cultural classification. Aspects of youth culture can be seen as transgressive popular culture and/or carnivalesque subversions of the order of power. Youth Style and Resistance’(Parker, 2000)
The cultural classifications of social youth categories are also of monumental signification, as Hall covers the themes of: *Demarcations of class, race and gender *Questions of space, taste, media and meaning (i.e. questions of culture) *Place of consumption without capitalist consumer societies *Vexed questions of 'resistance' 35
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture *Themes structure, exploration of youth culture. More spectacular youth cultures, the visible, loud, different, avant-garde youth styles.
The Emergence of Youth (18-25)
The emergence of youth also resulted in changing social construct generated by the development of capitalism and 'structured irresponsibility' Hall (1996) The assumptions and classifications of youth made by figures of authority anchored the following social conditions: 1. Youth unitary category: psychological social characteristics 2. Formative stage, attitudes, values anchored to ideologies 3. Transmission from childhood to adult-rebellion 4. ‘Young people in modern societies experience difficulty in making successful transitions and require professional help, advice and support to do so.’ (Cohen 97:182)
‘Audiences=active creators of meaning. Active producers within own cultural contexts. Fiske (1987) in particular, argued that popular culture is constituted not by texts but by meanings. Political economy, active audiences.’
‘Homology=reductionism, punk responding to crisis, anger and frustration Signifying practise, working class youth cultures in 'cut up' form. The noise and chaos of punk was ordered and meaningful undermining every relevant discourse' -Hebdige (1979: 108). Working class hamster on a wheel 'self damnation' reg: education rejection of the 'rules' and mental labour results in self-imposed hardship and dead end jobs rejects 'limitations'=limitation' Radicalized Youth Hebdige 'surfaces of British working class youth cultures, history of race relations since war' Hebdige (79:45) 'Succession of different responses to Black immigrant presence in Britain'- Hebdige (79:29) -Teddy Boys juxtapose rhythms and blues with attacks -mods emulated 'cool' style of West Indian soul -Skinheads 'racist' appropriated dress items, argot and music -Punk Black Youth rejection of Britishness and authority, Reggae was embraced despite musically being anthesis
‘Rebel Music’ 36
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Rastafarianism=Resources for resistance and subordination ‘The reggae thing was really before Punk, it was the only music that had something to say. Politics with a small ‘P’ things and social situations understood as it was real-REBEL MUSIC. ‘They (Punks) were into the political content of the reggae music and the rhythm, the heavy bass, the ganja. In Jamaica, they placed a lot of emphasis on sloganeering, like Tapper Zukie’s phrase ‘heavy-duty discipline’ that The Clash had stencilled on their clothing. It was the language of the street-that is all from Jamaica. We spoke in the currency that Punk rockers could relate to’-Don Letts (2005).
Explosion of Punk
‘What is Punk music? Its disgusting, degrading, ghastly, sleazy, prurient, voyeuristic and nauseating...most of these groups would be vastly improved by sudden death’-Bernard Brook Partridge, member of the Greater London Council, 25th Dec 1976.
Rastafarianism as 'profound subversion of White man's religion through appropriation and reversal of bible. Together Reggae and Rasta 'proclaimed unequivocally the ALIENATION felt by many Black youth Hebdige 79:30 Mercers Black 'style politics' (94)
Rap is according to Gilroy 'hybrid form rooted in syncretic valuations of South Spice where Jamaican sound-system culture, transplanted during 70's, new roots, set train in process that was to transform 'Black, Americas sense of self and large proportion of popular music industry as well (Gilroy.87:144)
Subcultures=Symbolic solutions to structural problems of class. Space for alternative reality and experiences. Concept of Homology-Willis (1978) social values, symbols and styles of subculture participants 'constitutive relationships’. Motorbike boys sense of alienation loss of human scale. Creative, expressive, symbolic work of subcultures=form of resistances. Skinheads communicated 'hardness, masculinity, working-classness’ (Clarke et al 76) Groups social relations in homological unity. Opposition to Hegemonic Culture. Youth culture historically seen as problematic.
ACTIVE ORGANISATION of objects, activities and attitudes through mode of dress, music, ritual and argot. 37
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture PROCESS OF RE-SIGNIFICATION
The end of authenticity
-Surveillance of youth culture -Authenticity doubtful in subculture -Problem for concept of style resistance, authenticity, originality needed -Bricolage of Clarke and Hebdige creative contrast to passive consumption of cultural commodities
Club Cultures (1995) Sarah Thornton
‘Rock always made declarations of artistic authenticity on live performance, disparaging dance and disco. Dance music through enculturalization, authenticated the record and DJ’ (Thornton, 1995) club cultures are inherently marked by authenticity claims and distinctions and are taste cultures. Club cultures own hierarchies of what is authentic and legitimate popular culture. Club cultures riddled with cultural hierarchies...which can be briefly designated as the authentic versus the phoney, the 'hip' versus the 'mainstream' , and the 'underground' versus the media'. (Thornton, 95: 3-4) Thornton follows Bourdieu (1984) affirming distinctions cannot purely be statements of equal difference; they incorporate claims to authority, authenticity and the presumed inferiority of others. Concept of cultural capital or accumulated knowledge confers power and status e.g. education/ability to talk knowledgeably traditionally a form of upper middle class, economic capital (wealth) and social capital (whom you may know). Context of club cultures, young peoples codes predominate. Sarah Thornton (1995) Thornton (1995) highlights the following themes of youth culture, in a dystopian post-modern climate: -Youth culture not necessarily resistant relating to trend, origins based upon this however -Differences are clarifications of power and distinctions of taste -Sub-cultural theory relies on sustainable binaries stream subculture, resistance-submission, dominant-subordinate -Youth cultures not formed outside and opposed to media -Youth cultures not unified but marked by internal differences, this clash of subcultures created a hyper sense of bricolage within East London -You th cultures mark not the politization of youth but aestheticisation of politics -Concept of subculture no longer appropriate-if indeed, it ever was-to conceptual apparatus and meaningful signs-Redhead ‘...post modernism, fundamentally anticipated in the metropolitan cultures of last 20yrs in fashion and youth styles, in sounds, images and diverse histories that are daily mixed, recycled 38
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture and 'scratched together' on the giant screen which is the contemporary modern cityâ€™(Chambers 87:7)
Theory Theory of Semiotics-Roland Barthes Roland Barthes once noted, that Saussure's model of the sign focused on purely on the denotation at the expense of connotation and it was left to subsequent theorists (notably Barthes himself) to offer an account of this important dimension of meaning (Barthes 1967, 89ff). This proved to be invaluable when conducting my research as Consequent to this in 'The Photographic Message' (1961) and 'The Rhetoric of the Image' (1964), Barthes argues in photography the connotation can be distinguished from denotation (Barthes 1977, 15-31, 32-51). Fiske stated the 'denotation is what is photographed, connotation is how it is photographed' (Fiske 1982, 91). However, in photography, denotation is negated at the expense of connotation. The photographic signifier seems to be almost identical with its signified, and the photograph becomes an apparent 'natural sign' produced without the intervention of a code (Hall 1980, 132) Barthes initially argued that it is only at a level higher than the 'literal' level of denotation, is it made possible for a code be identified - that of connotation (we will return to this issue when we discuss codes). By 1973 Barthes had shifted his ground on this issue. In analysing the realist literary text Barthes came to the conclusion that 'denotation is not the first meaning, but pretends to be so; under this illusion, it is ultimately no more than the last of the connotations (the one which seems both to establish and close the reading), the superior myth by which the text pretends to return to the nature of language, to language as nature' (Barthes 1974, 9). Connotation= illusion of denotation, the illusion of language as transparent and of the signifier and the signified as being identical. Therefore denotation becomes connotation, no more of a 'natural' meaning than is connotation but a process of naturalization. Processes such as this lead to powerful illusion of denotation as purely literal and universal meaning which is not ideological in any sense, and in fact those connotations which seem most straightforward to the individual interpreters are just as 'natural'. In accordance with Althusserian reading, â€˜when we first learn denotations, we are also being positioned within ideology by learning dominant connotations at the same time.â€™ (Silverman 1983, 30)
Hiding in the Light
Hebdige (1988) applies Foucauldian ideas regarding the micro-relations of power to the construction of youth as trouble and fun. Records 19th cent fear of the crowd as illegible and ungovernable led social reformers 39
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Nietzsche’s true legacy was the association of nihilism with values (their absence, their rejection, their synthesis) and optimism of no limits in science and the possibility of ‘self destruction’: state’s power, permanent and terror/ anti-terror ‘strong arm approach’. The masses replaced by robot ideal and transcendental return to religious faith’s refuge as answer to ‘robotopian’ emptiness (whilst still struggling for their ‘material’ existence or confusing the stomach principle with the ‘soul’ principle) and desperate existence of the individual solitude. Neo-liberal capitalism and pauperizing of privatization. The system where science and technology benefit society has a solid material base. God’s ‘death’ as irrelevant ‘He’ continues to be ‘alive’ as belief, its ‘value’ is personal investment ‘conscious/unconscious psychological desire for ontological permanence.
Historically active or destructive forces, inherently deny the ‘unstoppable movement’ of the ‘2nd’ nihilism, collision/collusions now both nihilism accelerate dissolution ‘so called new world’ order ‘seeks its retardation and seems to reconsolidate itself full of uncertainties and serious apocalyptical auguries. ‘God’ value, difference in terms of world difference, those who oppose or critically approach the status quo: ‘philosophical’ distinction. Belief in God does not have an effect in ethical terms. Moral belief and moral practise establish a mode of being. Active/repressive as well as authorisation and reactionary type. The modern Capitalist God continues to be the ‘official’ one, Communist God, the proscribed ones.’ Today it is not a matter of saying Yes or No to life. Avail themselves of counter-opposed means.
Marxism Marxism is a particular political philosophy, economic and sociological worldview based upon a materialist interpretation of history, a Marxist analysis of capitalism, a theory of social change, and an atheist view of human liberation derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The three primary aspects of Marxism are: dialectical and materialist concept of history critique of capitalism Advocacy of proletarian revolution
Continuing from European Structuralism. Ferdinand De Saussure (linguist) 1960. The theory of language ''looms as the most essential of cultural studies concepts, either in its own right, or through being appropriated as a model for understanding other cultural systems'' (Turner 1996). Structures of language reveal mechanisms through which individuals make sense of the world. Science of Semiology pioneered by Saussure and later Barthes (73) Social representations and meanings of different cultural practices and gestures, literature, drama, conversation, photography, film, television and of course dress. Idea of sign and communication.
Nietzsche and Marxism 40
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Nietzsche’s and Marxist thought complementary are historically and culturally parallel in their valuing of metaphysical idealism of the will to truth and their idealistic models of a superior new human being. Nietzsche was infamously known for his sarcasm preferring to be taken as a buffoon rather than ‘sanctified’. Marxism annunciates the end of capitalism and socialism’s definitive triumph in the xx century. Nazi’s distortion and appropriation of Nietzsche as philosopher of Aryan supremacy (in reality he was severally critical of supremacy and anti-semiticism) his philosophy is essentially one of a pessimistic, somewhat apocalyptic vision of existence which is beyond sanctification or demonization as both philosophers announce, explicit a global system creation of ‘non-system’ and a ‘non-state’ realm of freedom/power an overcome human being.
Hardcore Punk The scene has been focused on legenday venues such as the famous CBGBs, ABC No Rio, A7 and Brooklyn's L'amour. The New York scene was home to most of the early influential bands, such as Agnostic Front and Beastie Boys, and later bands like Sick of It All and Youth of Today. Original New York Hardcore Punk bands continued: Cro-Mags, Heart Attack, Learn Nothing, Nihilistics, The Psychos, Kraut, The Mob, Urban Waste, The Stimulators, Sheer Terror, Murphy's Law, Reagan Youth, Cause for Alarm, Warzone, NYC Recent: Breakdown, NY Hoods, Straight Ahead, Rest in Pieces, Raw Deal , Killing Time, Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Bold, Underdog, Token Entry, Leeway, Merauder, Absolution, Awkward Thought, Side by Side, Burn, Shutdown, Crown of Thornz , Skarhead, Sworn Enemy ,Irate, Indecision, Vision of Disorder, Vietnam , Cold Front, H2O and Madball. 4
During the same period, there was a parallel development in the United Kingdom of a British form of hardcore punk or street punk. Bands such as Discharge and Chaos UK took the existing late 1970s punk sound and added the incessant, heavy drumbeats and distorted guitar sound of New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), Motörhead and Iron Maiden. This contributed to the development of the thrash metal sound of the 1980s but also the crust punk/d-beat sound. Emo-influenced hardcore: Lifetime, Falling forward, later Turning Point
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Along with being among the earliest punk rock groups to incorporate elements and the influence of heavy metal melodies and rhythm (particularly in their later records), there were often overt freestyles, free jazz, break beat and contemporary classical elements in their sound, especially in Ginn's guitar playing, and the band interspersed records and performances with instrumentals throughout their career. They also played longer, slower, and more complex songs at a time when many bands in their milieu stuck to a raw, fast, threechord format. As a result, their extensive discography is more stylistically varied than many of their punk rock contemporaries.
Related Genres Early Metal Core=Earth Crisis, Strife Modern Metal Core: Throwdown, Unearth, Adamantium, Converge Modern youth crew/old-school bands: Ten Yard Fight, In My Eyes, Champion, Give Up the Ghost (formerly called American Nightmare), Black Sheep Squadron, the Spark, Trial Metal Core Metalcore is can only be what is described as a ‘fusion genre combining elements of various extreme metal element,’ with hardcore punk. The name of it is an amalgamation of the names of the two genres. The term initially took on its current meaning in the mid-1990s, describing bands such as Earth Crisis, Deadguy and Integrity. The earliest of these groups, Integrity, first performing in 1988, modern continuers of the genre include Darkest Hour, As I Lay Dying, Still Remains, and August Burns Red. Metal Core is distinguished from other punk metal fusions by its emphasis on breakdowns: slower, intense passages conducive to moshing. The genre has had a notable influx of bands in the last five years.
Magazines and Fanzines HUCK Magazine
Huck is a bi-monthly alternative lifestyle magazine deeply rooted in surf, skate and snowboarding its ironic motto being life is ‘more than the ride’ it focuses heavily on the associated art and lifestyle in equal measure, to its chosen leisures for people that hold deep passion for all these things. Its offices based in East London and published in English, German and French and distributed worldwide and there is also a free fanzine version distributed around East London and Camden.
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture Vice magazine Global magazine focusing on urban/independent youth orientated arts related lifestyle and culture. Vice is a free magazine and monster media conglomerate founded in Montreal, Quebec and currently based in New York City. The magazine covers contemporary urban/indie youth culture. Vice is notoriously known for its controversial content and often strikes an almost ridiculously sardonic and ironic pose on debauchery, sex, drugs, violence, crime, and social issues involving race and economic class as well as at times a somewhat vulgar highly misogynistic perception of women (often featuring provocative shots of young girls naked/in compromising positions) which can provide uncomfortable reading and compromises its otherwise highly innovative visual content. Vice hard copies are available in 19 different countries. Vast amount of editions can be found in Canada, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Spain, Mexico, New Zealand, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the United States. It remains free and supports itself primarily through advertising as well as owning one of East London’s undoubtedly most popular establishments the Old Blue Last pub. The current editor-in-chief is Jesse Pearson globally whilst the UK editor is Andy Capper.
Fear and Loathing is an independent purely Punk orientated DI.Y style magazine, having purchased a rare copy of this from Rough Trade East recently it was a significant source of visual inspiration in terms of layout and design.
Adbuster Magazine -Nihilism and Revolution Issue #84 "I believe in nothing if not action" Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man The publishers of Adbuster Magazine describe themselves as a ‘global network of artists, activists, pranksters, students, educators, and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age. Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we live in the 21st Century.’ Established in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Adbusters is a ‘not-for-profit, readersupported, 120,000-circulation magazine concerned about the erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces’. Their work has been embraced by organizations like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, has been featured in hundreds of alternative and mainstream newspapers, magazines, and television and radio shows around the world. The issue of ‘Nihilism and Revolution (06/09) focuses on the concept of history and prominence of Nihilism in our current age has long been ‘the dark muse of poetry, philosophy and art. But now we are confronted with the moment when this experiment of ours on Planet Earth meets its spectacular and terrifying end, when civilization reaches its summit and begins to tumble into permanent decline. This global meltdown has wrought a new breed of 43
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture nihilism – eco-nihilism, psycho-nihilism, apocalypto-nihilism – for which no philosophy has ever been written, no remedy ever prescribed …’ Adbusters #84, Nihilism & Revolution,
Sniffin’ Glue Fanzine original Punk fanzine of the 70’s era
Sniffin Glue became the chosen rag of the blank generation-John Cooper Clarke, (punk poet, in the foreword to the Essential Punk Accessory). ‘It was all a bit Dada wasn’t it? I don’t know- John Egan. ‘Look the situation is for too serious for enjoyment’-Joe Strummer Sniffin’ Glue 28th Sept 1976
The Fly is a free A5 sized East London based publication not to mention an online music magazine, featuring exclusive interviews, articles, album reviews, links, upcoming shows, exclusive acoustic performances by the UKs leading artists. The magazine is published by hugely successful independent music company Mama Group and has grown from its humble origins as a listings guide for Barfly (club) venues to what has become the biggest free music magazine in the country. The Fly is also notable for featuring cutting edge new bands alongside more established acts; it has a popular regular Levi's Ones To Watch feature in association with Levi's jeans its aim being to discover new talent via specially-organized gigs and interviews.
Skate and Annoy Magazine
Skate and Annoy is an unadulterated indulgence in everything to do with skateboarding also includes featuring latest merchandise, tricks and comical skate park you tube clips such as ‘annoying kid of the month’. Also has a penchant for Punk rock which is strongly displayed in its striking graphics.
Confusion Magazine is a new international underground skate, music, art and surf magazine. The successor of Concussion Magazine, Confusion continues where Concussion left off 13 years ago. Going back to its roots, Confusion is a fresh voice for the underground, anticorporate, DIY culture; the ‘under represented, not the over promoted’. While Confusion’s focus is on DIY skater built bowls, contraptions, found pools and ditches, as well as being a skate zine Confusion also feature artists, bands and sometimes surfing. The non-glossy print version will also be available soon in limited runs in select cities in main cities such as USA, 44
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Australia, UK, etc. but for ‘those who cannot find a print zine, there is at least the online presence’.
Further reading Symbolic Creativity (Paul Willis 1990)
Bibliography Barker. C (2007) ‘Youth, Style and Resistance’ London: Waterstone’s
Barthes. R ( 1987). Mythologies. New York: Hill & Wang.
Chandler. D (2007). Semiotics: The Basics. London: Routledge.
Colegrave. S & Sullivan. C (2004) Punk. London: Cassell Illustrated
Hall. S (1993) Resistance through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain. London: Routledge
Hebdige. D (1979) Subculture the meaning of Style (New Accents) London: Routledge
Johnson. S (2006) Everything Bad is Good for you- How Popular Culture is Making Us Smarter. U.S.A: Riverhead Books
Klien. N (2000) No Logo. Great Britain: HarperCollinsPublishers
Marx. K and Engels. F (1998) The Communist Manifesto. New York: Penguin Group
McRobbie. A (1999) In the Culture Society: Art, Fashion and Popular Music. London: Routledge 45
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Nietzsche. F (2005) The Anti-Christ. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press
Nietzsche. F (2005) Ecce Homo. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press
Nietzsche. F (2003) The Will to Power and Other Posthumous Collections. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press
Thornton. S (1995) Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Cambridge: Polity Press
Saussure. F (1922). Cours de Linguistique GĂŠnĂŠrale. France: Payot
Willis. P (1990) Symbolic Creativity. London: SAGE Publications Ltd
Websites https://www.adbusters.org/ -accessed 15/08/09
http://vansskateblog.blogspot.com/ -accessed 17/12/09
http://digitalfanzinepreservationsociety.blogspot.com/ -accessed 22/04/10
http://www.articleinput.com/e/a/title/The-meaning-of-tattoos-is-changeable/ -accessed 12/04/09
http://www.oldskaters.com/forum/index.php/topic,1157/prev_next,next.html -accessed 22/04/09
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_Now_in_the_Fire -accessed 09/05/10
http://punkmusic.about.com/od/punkinprint/p/Hardcore.htm -accessed 17/04/10
http://punkmusic.about.com/od/punktionary/g/posthardcore.htm -accessed 09/04/10 46
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emo -accessed 12/02/10
http://img4.imageshack.us/i/rageagainstthemachinesl.jpg/ -accessed 16/11/09
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_Now_in_the_Fire -accessed 16/11/09
http://skateandannoy.com/category/zines/ -accessed 03/04/10
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/x-factor/6816792/Joe-McElderry-losingChristmas-number-one-race-to-Rage-Against-The-Machine.html -accessed 27/01/10
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/rage-against-the-machine-takechristmas-no1-slot-1846247.html -accessed 27/01/10
http://www.silver-dragon-records.com/hardcore_punk.htm -accessed 20/02/10
http://www.badbrains.com/ -accessed 04/03/10
http://thetruehardcore.blogspot.com/2010/05/cypress-hill.html -accessed 07/05/10
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypress_Hill -accessed 07/05/10
http://en.allexperts.com/e/p/pu/punk_visual_art.htm -accessed 09/04/10
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture http://faculty.insead.edu/chandon/personal_page/Documents/Case_Diesel%202007_correctedw.p df accessed-24/05/10 http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem01.html -accessed 03/05/10 http://reports.mintel.com/sinatra/reports/index/letter=19/display/id=1478&anchor=a1478 2009 accessed-24/05/10 http://reports.mintel.com/sinatra/reports/index/id=482523/list/id=482523&type=RCItem&list =list/display/id=121072/display/id=393600 accessed-24/05/10
Appendix 1 Questionnaire 25 people participated in this questionnaire. 9: Street 10: MySpace 6: 'Hardcore' forums Would you say you are part of the Hardcore Punk scene? Yes 6 Maybe 10 No 9 Does the associated elements of Hardcore Culture effect your current aesthetic style? Yes 9 Maybe 11 No 5 Have you been attracted to this scene since/or as a result of your experiences during adolescence? Yes 12 Maybe 8 No 5 Do you think drug use, promiscuity and general debauchery e.t.c are part of this lifestyle as potrayed in mainstream media? Yes 5 Maybe 7 No 14 Would you consider yourself to be an active resistor of commercial culture? Yes 14 Maybe 6 No 5
Appendix 2 Results Many people targeted were reluctant to label themselves within a particular genre however fondness of the affiliated areas of the lifestyle such as argot and music was expressed. In relation to its representation in the media, many found that it was often factually inaccurate and often misrepresented. 48
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Appendix 3 Opinions: ‘I think over the years we've all gotten spoiled to the point where we don't care about much more than what we have, how many "babes we can slay" (if you're a dude) and above all else, our social status. People get so caught up in that shit that they can't understand the value of something that doesn't provide any material benefit or make them appear special in whatever way, yet it has the capacity to empower every kid to live life to the fullest, be his/herself and have a shit-ton of fun in the process.’-Jay
I think it's unfortunate that people these days pick out all the trappings of hardcore, the fashion trends, the image (there are tons of images) and limit hardcore to just that, since it suits their superficial way that they approach the world. It makes about as much sense as taking the pickles off of a Big Mac and calling them hamburgers (I mean if you really like pickles.) I hope this definition helps people re-examine the way they think about hardcore, and spread the word to people who don't know any better’-Mark Moore
‘A branch of underground/indie music influenced by faster abrasive punk rock. Originating in the early 80’s as a variant of punk rock, hardcore evolved to a modern sound that can be compared to non commercial metal. The constant themes range from Straight Edge, to Politics, to Positive and Negative. Bands range from Minor Threat from the 80’s to One Fifth, or Unearth of today etc… Bad Brains is hardcore.’-anon
Appendix 4 Trend Images (East London)
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Rob, 24 Club Promoter Cassie, 23-â€˜bumbâ€™ (both Kingsland Rd)
Toby, 25 Graphic Designer-Aldgate East (left) Will, 23 Skater-Dalston (right)
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Pete, 22 Chef-Oxford/East London
Shaun 25, ex-professional skateboarder/trainer designer-Durban/Dalston
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Gabriella, 21 Linguistics Student-Stoke Newington
Zoe, 18 Dan, 18-Camden Town 52
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Rosie, 18 Art Student (left) Sandra, 18 (right) â€“Brick Lane Market
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture
Appendix 5 Vimeo Regeneration Trailer http://vimeo.com/11579616
Appendix 6 Market Research Sportswear Retailing http://reports.mintel.com/sinatra/reports/index/letter=19/display/id=1478&anchor=a1478 Young Adult Leisure Trends - US - November 2009http://reports.mintel.com/sinatra/reports/index/id=482523/list/id=482523&t
ype=RCItem&list=list/display/id=121072/display/id=393600 Myspace Search Traffic
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/myspace.com Diesel for Successful Living http://faculty.insead.edu/chandon/personal_page/Documents/Case_Diesel%202007_corrected-w.pdf
Appendix 7 Websites http://issuu.com/void-mag/docs/void http://www.myspace.com/void_mag
Active Resistance in Hardcore Punk Counter Culture http://voidspot.wordpress.com