Punk Productions

Unfinished Business

By Stacy Thompson

Subjects: Cultural Studies, Communication, American Studies
Series: SUNY series, INTERRUPTIONS: Border Testimony(ies) and Critical Discourse/s
Paperback : 9780791461884, 228 pages, July 2004
Hardcover : 9780791461877, 228 pages, July 2004

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Table of contents


Abbreviations and Acronyms

Introduction You Are Not What You Own


Punk: A Provisional Definition
A Desiring Punk/Punk Desire


1. Let's Make a Scene


The New York Scene
The English Scene
California Hardcore Scene
Washington, D. C. Hardcore Scene (First Wave Straight Edge)
New York Hardcore Scene (Second Wave Straight Edge)
Riot Grrrl Scene
The Berkeley/Lookout! Pop-Punk Scene


2. Punk Aesthetics and the Poverty of the Commodity


Punk Versus the Commodity
Crass Commodities
A Profane Existence
Aesthetic Profanity
Economic Profanity
From Crass to Profane Existence to CrimethInc. and Beyond


3. Punk Economics and the Shame of Exchangeability


The Punk Commodity
The Two Poles of the Commodity
Collecting Punk/Punk Collecting
Viva la Vinyl
Displaced Labor
The Good Side of the Commodity


4. Market Failure: Punk Economics, Early and Late


Early Punk Economics
Late Punk Economics
Dischord Records and Fugazi
Lookout! Records
The Failure/Success of Dischord, Fugazi, and Lookout!


5. Screening Punk


Punk Cinema?
The Punk Marquee: What's Showing?
At the Bijoux: Rude Boy
In the Mall Cineplex: Fight Club


Epilogue: Beyond Punk


Punk's Not Dead





A history and social psychology of punk music.


Stacy Thompson's Punk Productions offers a concise history of punk music and combines concepts from Marxism to psychoanalysis to identify the shared desires that punk expresses through its material productions and social relations. Thompson explores all of the major punk scenes in detail, from the early days in New York and England, through California Hardcore and the Riot Grrrls, and thoroughly examines punk record collecting, the history of the Dischord and Lookout! record labels, and 'zines produced to chronicle the various scenes over the years. While most analyses of punk address it in terms of style, Thompson grounds its aesthetics, and particularly its most combative elements, in a materialist theory of punk economics situated within the broader fields of the music industry, the commodity form, and contemporary capitalism. While punk's ultimate goal of abolishing capitalism has not been met, the punk enterprise that stands opposed to the music industry is still flourishing. Punks continue to create aesthetics that cannot be readily commodified or rendered profitable by major record labels, and punks remain committed to transforming consumers into producers, in opposition to the global economy's increasingly rapid shift toward oligopoly and monopoly.

Stacy Thompson is Assistant Professor of Critical Theory and Cinema Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire.