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What were the politics of Punk? Is music a form of resistance and can it define a movement? As a twentieth- century historian Matthew has continued to explore his love of the Sex Pistols, Crass and The Clash by challenging preconceptions of punk culture though his research. He believes that youth culture is more than just consumerism; punk offered a platform for young people to challenge the world around them and to express themselves and their ideas. It exposed the fault-lines and anxieties running through British culture and society during the 1970s and 1980s.

In his undergraduate module on “Anarchy in the UK” students go beyond mohawks and fashion and consider music, artwork and writings of the Punk era to explore the wider historical context of the time. Considering these sources gives an insight into how teenagers felt about the rise of trade unions, nationalism, Thatcherism and the reigniting of the Cold War. Punk culture was messy and contested, but it also opened up space and gave people a voice. By immersing themselves in the sounds and imagery of the time students unpick the contradictory, conflicting yet important issues of the time for those coming of age.

Youth Subcultures

Watch the video to find out more about Matthew's research into punk cultures.

Online Course

As co-founded the Subcultures Network, Matthew has created an international network of scholars, writers, artists, musicians and poets researching the history of British youth culture.

Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-78 explores the emergence of British punk as well as its effect on the politics and culture of the 1970s society.

Using examples threaded throughout the course, learners are encouraged to express their own ideas, sharpen their critical thinking skills and draw on their creativity to make their own zine for their own time.

Sign up for Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-78