Punk Not Die! - a Minor Field Study on the performance of punk in Indonesia

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Sociologi

Sammanfattning: Developing the outlines to a theory of a scene presented in a prior paper, the author´s intention is to further highlight punk´s heterogeneous and dynamic character. Investigating how punk has been transferred to and has developed in Indonesia the author stresses the importance of considering the cultural framework which provides actions with meaning when investigating culture. Based on Clifford Geertz´s concept of thick descriptions punk, it is argued, cannot be addressed as dependent on local structures. Instead the cultural framework of the scene: the themes the actors adhere to, their interpretations of these and the subsequent identification of a cultural Other, must be considered in order to understand the actors´ performances. Besides the contextual transition of punk and the role of local culture in this transition this study also poses the question how punk is performed in relation to a cultural Other and how this affects the performances. Starting off by considering culture as a means of legitimising a distinction this paper is a critique of the recent development in Cultural Studies regarding the concept of hybrid cultures and indigenization. Throughout this paper it is suggested that a punk´s transition to Indonesia cannot be viewed as a cultural hybrid since the foundation for the performance of punk has neither been indigenized nor altered. Instead the author argues that the cultural framework of the scene decides what direction the performances take. Introducing the concept of the aspects of the scene the author argues that there is a convex and a concave aspect of punk. The convex, being outwardly directed, identifies the cultural other; the mainstream, as an external mainstream. Accordingly punk is publicly performed through the display of mohawks, tattoos, studs etc. so as to make this distinction from an external mainstream. The concave aspect on the other hand addresses the mainstream in internal terms, identifying it as already within the scene in the shape of the convex punks. Consequently the concave punks perform punk privately in order to make this distinction. This, it is argued is the foundation for the performance of punk but also for punk´s contextual transition. Punk is transferred to one context to another through the convex aspect´s use of the external mainstream to communicate their interpretation of the themes and the concave aspect´s internal distinction. Together the two aspects enable a dynamic and heterogeneous scene which enables new actors to imagine punk and current actors to re-imagine punk. Developing Arjun Appadurai´s idea of imagination, it is suggested that imagination involves a two-step process: an initial stage where what to imagine is developed and a second more important where how to imagine this becomes central. Focusing on the former as in claiming punk to be a cultural hybrid is, it is argued, neglecting the cultural framework which gives meaning to the actors´ performances.

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