Was punk DIY? Is DIY punk? Interrogating the DIY/punk nexus, with particular reference to the early UK punk scene, c. 1976–1984

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This article offers a critical provocation and reconceptualisation of the DIY/punk nexus, both to challenge the standard critical narrative of punk as originary DIY culture and to liberate the broader practice of DIY from the limits of punk. It critically traces the development of the discourse of DIY both in original British punk c. 1976–1984 and in what has become punk studies, mapping the development of the scholarly orthodoxy. It then challenges the latter via an interrogation of aspects of punk that have been repeatedly presented in the scholarship as evidence of its DIY-ness: punk mediation, instrumentation, and participation. These three then constitute a context for the central and more detailed critical exploration of the most widely accepted DIY/punk practice, the independent or self-produced record, which is also read as ‘non-DIY.’ The article concludes by widening the critical gaze via a call for DIY to undergo a process of depunking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDIY, Alternative Cultures and Society
Early online date23 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2023


  • punk rock
  • punk studies
  • DIY

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