Punk Rock

Music Is the Currency of Life

By Mindy Clegg

Subjects: Music, Music - Textbook, General Interest
Hardcover : 9781438489377, 278 pages, August 2022
Paperback : 9781438489384, 278 pages, August 2022

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Punk Rock and History

1. The Roots: Fashion, Art, Politics, and Music in Modernity: Nineteenth Century to 1970
The Rise of Capitalist Modernity
Philosophical and Artistic Responses to Consumerist Modernity
The Creation of Teenagers and Youth Cultures
Popular Music and Youth Subcultures in the Cold War

2. From Proto-Punk to First-Wave Punk: 1970 to 1980
Art and Music Collide
Critical Origins of a Genre
Proto-Punk: Early Musical Influences on Punk
First-Wave Punk Scenes

3. Second Wave: From Subculture to Underground Globalization: 1980 to 1990
Building the Translocal Underground
Who's the Real Punk: Politics, Racism, and Other Ills
Punk Panic

4. New Underground Scenes and the Rise of Alternative Music: 1990 to 2000
Riot Girl and Queercore: Make Punk Inclusive Again
Alternative Nation
The End of Punk Panic?

5. Punk in the Twenty-First Century: 2000 to 2021
Postcolonial Punk?

Conclusions: Will the "Real" Punk Rockers Please Stand Up?


Shows how punk rock shaped modern culture around the world.


Punk Rock examines the history of punk rock in its totality. Punk became a way of thinking about the role of culture and community in modern life. Punks forged real alternatives to producing popular music and built community around their music. This punk counterpublic, forged in the late Cold War period, spanned the globe and has provided a viable cultural alternative to alienated young people over the years. This book starts with the rise of modernity and places the emergence of punk as a musical subculture into that longer historical narrative. It also reveals how punk itself became a contested terrain, as participants sought to imbue the production of music with greater meaning. It highlights all styles of punk and its wide variety of creators around the world, including from the LGBTQ+, feminist, and alternative communities. Punk was and remains a transnational phenomenon that influences music production and shapes our understanding of culture’s role in community building.

Mindy L. Clegg teaches history at Perimeter College at Georgia State University.


“Mindy Clegg's Punk Rock is a deeply researched, passionately written deep dive into punk and its subcultures, spanning from its origins to the far edges of postcolonial punk. Her book expands our understanding of the meaning of punk and its enduring power to give voice to the voiceless and is a must read for anyone interested in the complex intersections of punk, politics, identity, and power.” — Nicholas Rombes, author of A Cultural Dictionary of Punk, 1974–1982