Australian anarcha-punk zines

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Australian anarcha-punk zines: poststructuralism in contemporary anarchist and gender politics BA (Hons) Politics and Society - Griffith University, 2006, by Lucy Katherine Nicholas.


This thesis describes and analyses the politics of the Australian DIY anarcha-punk scene and the ethos of the culture's participants. Eschewing the orthodox sub-cultural approach which situates 'punk' within a structuralist hegemony / resistance paradigm, the thesis uses participant observation and textual analysis techniques to understand the role played by zines (hand made publications) in fostering the intellectual and ethical capacities needed to participate in the Australian DIY anarcha-punk scene.

The zines, in their deviation from classical anarchism, often invoke concepts of power and 'the political' analogous with those of poststructuralist theory, yet DIY anarchist politics also diverge from poststructuralism. I therefore address DIY anarchist politics by questioning the significance of these inconsistencies with Theory. In doing so I am led to suggest that the zines may be more usefully approached as elements in the ethico-political practice of DIY anarchism, which nonetheless draws on the 'conceptual vocabulary' of much poststructuralism, as well as other theoretical approaches.

Thus I re-describe DIY anarchism as an ethos which seeks to argue for its agendas and values on non-foundational terms. Further, I demonstrate that by pursuing an ethos of 'autonomy', the culture's participants seek to develop their intellectual and ethical capacities through a self-consciously 'developmental' engagement of power relationships, in the form of DIY 'prefiguration' or exemplification.

Following the preoccupation with gender politics in the zines and the wider scenes, I describe the approach to gender politics in similarly ethico-political terms, drawing likewise on various elements of poststructuralist and other theories. I show this feminist ethical practice to be based on assumptions about gender which embody a certain poststructuralist approach to 'gender', one that is predicated on the material effects of a discursively congealed gender structure, but forms part of an ethos aiming to deconstruct this structure.

By re-describing the political approaches of these zines in reference to various theoretical perspectives and ethico-political practices, I am able to offer perspectives to the culture in question, as well as to the interdisciplinary academic context within which I am writing.

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