Shot by both sides: Punk, politics and the end of “Consensus”
Worley, M. (2012) Shot by both sides: Punk, politics and the end of “Consensus”. Contemporary British History, 26 (3). pp. 333-354. ISSN 1743-7997
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/13619462.2012.703013
This article examines the ways in which political organisations of the far left and far right responded to punk-informed youth culture in Britain during the late 1970s. It examines how both tried to understand punk within their own ideological framework, particularly in relation to the perceived socio-economic and political crises of the late 1970s, before then endeavouring to appropriate—or use—punk for their own ends. Ultimately, however, the article suggests that while punk may indeed be seen as a cultural response to the breakdown of what some have described as the post-war ‘consensus’ in the 1970s, the far left and far right's focus on cultural expression cut across the basic foundations on which they had been built. Consequently, neither left nor right proved able to provide an effective political conduit through which the disaffections expressed by punk could be channelled.