For more than three decades, a punk underground has repeatedly insisted that 'anyone can do it'. This underground punk movement has evolved via several micro-traditions, each offering distinct and novel presentations of what punk is, isn't, or should be. Underlying all these punk micro-traditions is a politics of empowerment that claims to be anarchistic in character, in the sense that it is contingent upon a spontaneous will to liberty (anyone can do it - in theory). How valid, though, is punk's faith in anarchistic empowerment? Exploring theories from Derrida and Marx, Anyone Can Do It: Empowerment, Tradition and the Punk Underground examines the cultural history and politics of punk. In its political resistance, punk bears an ideological relationship to the folk movement, but punk's faith in novelty and spontaneous liberty distinguish it from folk: where punk's traditions, from the 1970s onwards, have tended to search for an anarchistic 'new-sense', folk singers have more often been socialist/Marxist traditionalists, especially during the 1950s and 60s.
Detailed case studies show the continuities and differences between four micro-traditions of punk: anarcho-punk, cutie/'C86', riot grrrl and math rock, thus surveying UK and US punk-related scenes of the 1980s, 1990s and beyond.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd