“Life We Make”: Identity, Memory and British Anarcho-Punk

Grimes, Matt R. (2020) “Life We Make”: Identity, Memory and British Anarcho-Punk. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Partly taking its title from the song Life We Make, by British anarcho-punk band Flux of Pink Indians, this thesis investigates how participants of the British anarcho-punk subcultural scene of the late 1970s to late 1980s, reflexively narrate their affiliation to, and engagement with, that subcultural scene, and the significance that has had on their later lives. Whilst most studies in the field of subcultural and post-subcultural studies tend to focus on ‘active’ adherents, little research has been conducted into how youthful affiliations with a music-driven subcultural scene continue to inform those who relinquish that affiliation, in later life. This thesis is concerned with the long tail of subcultural scene affiliation, where through their reflexive narratives my participants map their personal journey into and out of British anarcho-punk. In doing so it raises a number of questions. What happens to their sense of self and anarcho-punk identification, when they relinquish their affiliation? How long and in what ways does a sense of belonging and acquired ideologies, values and beliefs persist and reside in the self beyond that youthful affiliation? How do the notions of ageing and adult responsibilities constrain those ideologies, values and beliefs? What role does narrative memory and nostalgia play in how one understands that past affiliation and residual identity?

Data from 18 in-depth interviews with individuals that self-identified as anarcho-punks during their adolescence, shows that their youthful affiliation to British anarcho-punk has in some ways continued to influence and shape who they are and how their sense of self has been changed by that experience. My findings indicate that there are limitations to the way that subcultural and post-subcultural identity has been conceptualised. Revealing the relationship of ex-affiliation, ex-identities and residual identities can only help illuminate and add to a greater and more holistic understanding of subcultural, post-subcultural and identity studies. Therefore, my findings indicate that there are opportunities to reconsider how subcultural and post-subcultural identity is investigated and conceptualised.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
28 September 2020Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anarcho-punk; Punk; Subcultures; Music scenes; youth cultures; Popular music; Identity; Memory; Nostalgia
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-06 - cultural studies
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-01 - social sciences (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > College of English and Media
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2021 12:03
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12443

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