Anarchist Studies Network 6th International Conference: ‘Anarchy in Crisis’

This a Call For Papers for a proposed ‘Punk Panel’ as part of this year’s Anarchist Studies Network 6th International Conference (University of Nottingham, 2-4 September 2020).

Punk and anarchism have been interwoven for more than 40 years, but this is by no means a straightforward relationship – in the coming together of two such multifaceted entities, fractiousness is to be expected (perhaps even embraced). Views on their interrelationship are wide-ranging: from outright rejection (especially by ‘serious’ anarchists worried about punk’s ‘lifestylist’ leanings); to valuing punk as an invigorating force for a moribund Anglo-American anarchist movement in the 1970s; to pointing out the practical example of ‘anarchy in action’ provided by DIY punk cultural production and performance norms; to recognising punk’s role in re-introducing anarchism to diverse global contexts such as Poland and Indonesia in the 1980s and 1990s; to highlighting the role of ‘punk spaces’ such as squats and social centres in sustaining activist movements; to appreciation of the continued role punk plays in politicising new generations of anarchists. But none of these views are likely to go unchallenged, and it is that lively debate that this panel aims to tap into.

The ASN6 conference theme of ‘crisis’ resonates with punk too. As an indication of the strength of this trope in punk, take for example: New York Dolls’ pre-punk ‘Personality Crisis’ (1973); or punk bands named Crisis in Guildford and Belfast in the late 1970s (the Guildford version even reformed in 2017); or 1980s bands like Identity Crisis (Chicago) and Personality Crisis (Winnipeg) and zines like Capitol Crisis (Washington DC); or 1990s bands such as Earth Crisis (Syracuse) and Reality Crisis (Nagoya) and the Oxymoron Crisis Identity album (Germany, 1995); or more recent albums by UK anarchists Spanner (Crisis 2011) and Subhumans (Crisis Point 2019); or the contemporary band named Social Crisis (Warzaw); or the ‘A Crisis of Conscience’ punk festival in Hereford in 2016 and 2017. Punk crises abound!

So, to pose some provocative questions:

  • Is the relationship between punk and anarchism in crisis? Does it need to be reinvented? Can it or should it be reinvented?
  • What lessons can the rest of the anarchist movement draw from punk’s longevity and impressive global spread?
  • Is punk well-placed to respond to, or resist, or escape, a neo-liberal capitalist world? Or is punk just another harbinger of neo-liberalism’s seemingly irresistible advance?
  • Is the relationship between punk and anarchism substantially distinct in ‘other’ world contexts (especially in the ‘Global South’)?
  • Can punk’s success in ‘taking back the means of cultural production’ be replicated in other realms of production, whether social or material?
  • In the era of the ‘culture wars’, what does punk culture (or punk counter-culture) have to offer?

Submissions on punk and anarchism that do not tackle the main conference theme of ‘crisis’ are also welcome, as are historically focused contributions. Submissions for creative interventions are particularly welcomed. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words (in English) to j.donaghey@qub.ac.uk by 27th March 2020.

To download the full conference CFP: https://www.psa.ac.uk/sites/default/files/page-files/ASN6%20CfP%20Multiling%20Final_0.doc