Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Punk rock mafia

Gavin once told me that there is a ‘punk rock mafia’, a network of grown up punks with key positions in the culture industry.

Sometimes I take what Gavin says with a grain of salt. But Swedish sociologists have recently backed up this assertion with data.

The Mohawk—A smart career move
Punks are more successful than average people
Safety pins, Mohawks, and leather jackets.
There were surely many parents at the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s who got upset when their teenagers took on a new punk attitude and rebelled against everything. But their experiences with punk helped those rebels build careers.

“They have more education and a higher social standing, i.e. better jobs, than the average person,” says Per Dannefjord, sociologist at Växjö University.
Punks did everything themselves: they started record companies and music clubs, they made posters, designed cover art, wrote fanzine articles, and taught themselves lighting and sound engineering. It gave them experience that influenced both their education and career.
Per Dannefjord and his colleague Magnus Eriksson are currently researching the 259 Swedish punks who played in bands and put out records from 1978 to 1982. Almost all of them are men.

Social mix
So far they have received responses from 65 percent of the subjects and the results are still preliminary.
Among the former punks, 43 percent are businessmen today, compared to only 18 percent
of comparable men in the same age group. About 55 percent of the former punks have university degrees, compared to 30 percent of the people in their age group as a whole.
One explanation for the higher number of educated punks is that a large portion of the first punks came from the established middle class. But one fifth had parents who were workers. Eriksson and Dannefjord think the thing that is most interesting is that so many of these working class children, 46 percent, have college educations.
They think that the answer may be that the punk movement was mixed socially. It facilitated social mobility.
“Through punk the working class kids met kids who were on their way to college. It became a possible alternative,” says Per Dannefjord.

Punk on the inside
Almost half of the former punks in the study now work in jobs that are related to the culture industry. Some are musicians, but even more own studios, are journalists, or managers, or work in film, advertising, and design.
Both researchers were themselves punks back in the day. Per Dannefjord recorded an album with the now forgotten band EKG. You can’t tell from the outside who was a punk, but it’s there on the inside, he thinks:
“I absolutely believe that punk has given me the confidence to do things.”

Cecilia Klintö/TT

In the US we have Punks in Science too.


Gavin M. said...

Dude, I hate it when people don't believe me about things until years later when some Swedish guy publishes an article.

flawedplan said...

Gavin don't be a fool, this is blatant revisionism. EKG punk rock? And back in the day Grampa played the bongos. EKG punk rock now I've heard everything please kill me.

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