POPULAR CULTURE AND CONTEMPORY PUNK

What do you think popular culture is?

According to John Storey’s book “Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction” (2015), he defines it to be “simply culture that is widely favoured or well liked by many people.” The new age era of technology and media allows everyone to be a constant consumer of popular culture, creating large amounts of engagement. 

What popular culture do you consume?

Personally for me, I find myself exposed to a large part of media intake and identity which is filtered through the culture, ‘a general process of intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic development’, of both punk and contemporary punk scenes. These scenes are largely affiliated with ideologies, ‘a systematic body of ideas articulated by a particular group of people’, such as the challenging of societal norms and issues through the exploration of music. “A vital role in the punk rock movement and gained legitimacy through its use of coactive and extremely confrontational tactics. These extreme tactics ultimately gained attention to bring about social change and to resist the status quo.” 

However, this hasn’t stopped the emergence of punk and contemporary punk rock subcultures to find their way into popular culture. For example the amount of mass production of t-shirts of bands like Nirvana and Bad Religion you can find in many fast fashion stores such as Kmart. “Transition to popular culture and can be observed on fashion runways and in shopping malls across the country, there will always be examples of products and ways of knowing that continue to persist.” 

Cultural Proximity, which is described as ‘the intuitively appealing notion that people will gravitate toward media from their own culture’, and can be seen through the differing examples of importance of time and geography in the punk scenes. An example of this is the difference between British and American punk movements. 

Britain, during the height of economic despair after World War II, led the way for “contribution to the punk rock movement was their condemnation of society and their anti-establishment views such as their anthem “Anarchy in the U.K.”

American punk scenes however were exploring the “issues of youth.. there were many demonstrations, one of the worst which was when race riots erupted on a college campus.” Contemporary punk scenes, such as the subculture of pop-punk, tended to gravitate more towards these areas of youth. This then created the era often referred to as ‘2010’s Sad Boi pop-punk’, existing largely on platforms like Tumblr, which I myself took part in during my non-coincidental “youth”. 

The idea of Cultural Proximity and Ideology can be seen through my personal example of my own gravitation towards media that reflects and shares the same values and culture as myself. It is the reason as to why I consume as much punk popular culture as I tend to. Punk and it’s now existing culture, scenes and all it’s subcultures, is universal and has evolved drastically through the years as the social climate of the world itself has changed. 

REFERENCES:

Storey, J. (2015). Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. [online] Google Books. Routledge. Available at: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=4-sjCQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Ksiazek, T.B. and Webster, J.G. (2008). Cultural Proximity and Audience Behavior: The Role of Language in Patterns of Polarization and Multicultural Fluency. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, [online] 52(3), pp.485–503. Available at: https://webster.soc.northwestern.edu/pubs/Ksiazek&Webster%20(2008)%20Cultural%20Proximity.pdf.

‌UKEssays.com. (2010). The Punk Rock Movement | Essay. [online] Available at: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/cultural-studies/the-punk-rock-movement-cultural-studies-essay.php.

Bernhard, E.M. (2019). Contemporary Punk Rock Communities: Scenes of Inclusion and Dedication. [online] Google Books. Rowman & Littlefield. Available at: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=4NCwDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false ‌

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