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The Politics of Punk


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: This Land is Punk Land Chapter 2: Know Your Enemy Chapter 3: Zones of Influence, Washington D.C. and San Francisco Chapter 4: Shot from Both Sides: MDC Chapter 5: Litpunk Furor: The Wit of Jennifer Blowdryer Chapter 6: Slamdance in the No Time Zone: Punk as Repertoire for Liminality Chapter 7: Through the Lurid Looking Glass: Punk Porn Histories

About the Author

David Ensminger is humanities, folklore, and English instructor at Lee College in Baytown, Texas. He has written about music, art, and contemporary issues and is author of Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generations and Left of the Dial: Conversations with Punk Icons. He has contributed to Popmatters, Maximum Rocknroll, Houston Press, Trust, Postmodern Culture, Art in Print, M/C Journal, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Liminalities, Artcore, and various other journals.


Ensminger's book appeals to scholars and readers interested in punk culture, popular music, activisms, and popular culture as Ensminger's engaging work adds to the growing history of punk. * New Books Network *
In The Politics of Punk: Protest and Revolt from the Streets, David Ensminger accomplishes the unwieldy task of documenting the politics and activism of punk as it erupted over several decades and in multiple communities....The Politics of Punk is a remarkably thorough and compelling achievement....His writing is clear, lively, and even passionate....The Politics of Punk marks a valuable contribution to punk studies, illuminating various threads of the movement. I am sure it will inspire other studies to focus on one of those threads in more detail. * Popular Music & Society *
Ensminger ... has a Punk pedigree to match his literary qualities and has written a book that is both intelligent, engrossing, through-provoking and genuine without being pious or pretentious. * Scanner Zine *
Ensminger offers an exploration of identity, belief, protest, and advocacy as they specifically intersect with punk music and culture and, along the way, chronicles a genre of music with great care and insight.... The Politics of Punk is a narrative rich with context, filled with firsthand memories by the people who made the movements. With time and distance, musicians reflect with candor on their youthful rationales and idealism, showing that sometimes these beliefs hold up, sometimes they do not. While Ensminger does bring in theory and academic sources, this is, most purely, a firsthand account of punk music, albeit one that is mediated in its presentation. In these days of renewed protest, this book is a timely reminder of how music has shaped protest culture in ways both overtly and covertly. It serves as a guide to an era but will, without a doubt, resonate with contemporary audiences grappling with a newfound drive for activism. * Journal of American Culture *
Over the last forty years punk rock fans have watched their music climb from stark basements to stadium bleachers. Is there a coherent politics of punk, and does it matter? In this informed and inclusive study, David Ensminger has assembled multiple generations from the musical counterculture who rally against the status quo while practicing radical, ethical, DIY solidarity. Far from armchair-addled academia, The Politics of Punk is a unique and refreshing grassroots contribution to the ongoing history of punk rock. -- Craig O'Hara, author of The Philosophy of Punk: More than Noise!
This ... will appeal to both scholars and general readers interested in the history and politics of punk, subcultures, popular music, journalism, grassroots activism, media studies, youth movements, and culture studies in general. Ensminger is an authority on this topic and provides a fresh voice in the field as a scholar and active participant in the punk movement for more than two decades who is attuned to the political and activist aspects of punk. He places punk in its broader sociocultural context and goes beyond semiotic analyses of punk as symbolic or "ritual resistance" and other cliches; this is a history of punk "from below," grounded in interviews, participant observation, oral history, and cultural theory that documents the activist attempts of specific individuals to affect social change, including LGBT issues, environmental concerns, homelessness, poverty, etc. It includes a story of grassroots activism often overlooked in studies of the punk movement, and is written in a way that engages the reader in a lively and impassioned manner. -- Daniel Wojcik, University of Oregon, author of Punk and Neo-Tribal Body Art

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