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Whip in my valise: British punk and the Marquis de Sade, c. 1975–85

Worley, M. ORCID: (2022) Whip in my valise: British punk and the Marquis de Sade, c. 1975–85. Contemporary British History, 36 (2). pp. 277-321. ISSN 1743-7997

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13619462.2022.2051487


British punk emerged in tandem with the formation of Sex Pistols, a band framed by a style and an aesthetic constructed, in part, by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood via their London shop SEX (1974–76). The shop displayed fetishwear and accoutrements designed to fuse youth and sexual subcultures, deploying sex as a cultural weapon to provoke and confront. This article examines the Sadean influences that found expression through punk, suggesting that the Marquis de Sade had a seminal if diffused impact on the punk-informed cultures that evolved through the 1970s into the 1980s. Though often indirect – and bound to broader interpretations of sexual behaviour – the actions, aesthetics and ideas associated with the ‘Divine Marquis’ seemingly tallied with the mood of a country caught in a period of socio-economic and political change.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Language Text and Power
ID Code:104006


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