“To the centre of the city in the night waiting for you.” Centro e periferie nella sottocultura post-punk inglese = “To the centre of the city in the night waiting for you.” Centre and peripheries in English post-punk subculture


“To the centre of the city in the night waiting for you.” Centre and peripheries in English post-punk subculture. Since the first industrial revolution, large mass consumption has always had a decisive impact on cities’ territorial configuration, in relation to centralisation, migration, urbanisation, in an often-unequal relationship between metropolis and de-urbanized contexts. In this scenario of development and geographic change, even the production of the cultural industry has undergone the effects of increasingly evident polarisation between suburbs and centres, implementing the movement from the outskirt towards the centre in an osmotic dialogue between subculture and mass production. Over the years many subcultural phenomena have been born from the suburbs as antithesis to the dominant culture. These, then, became, through the dialectic process of birth, growth and legitimation, part of the integrated system of the mainstream culture. This is the case of the post-punk movement, born in 1978 from experimentation in the outskirts of northern England and in the Midlands in antithesis to the state of emptiness, darkness and disintegration of the period of the post-industrial punk crisis, which was characterised by a more solid identity, built through a methodical research far from anti-music and anti-punk style. This paper intends to draw a map of the English musical subculture of post-punk and new wave, showing how the process of cultural production born from the residential and industrial suburbs has rewritten a new geography of the storytelling. To this end, the centripetal displacement from the outskirt towards the centre can be understood under a double perspective. On the one hand, the geographical migration from the suburbs of Manchester and Sheffield redraws the map of cultural ferment and new artistic production. On the other hand, the narration of the binomial periphery/centre permeates the cultural imagination of this movement, which, over the years, has come to touch every sector of contemporary cultural industry and which, through continuous recalls and re-enactments, re-uses the same subcultural models under different guises.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n13p37

Keywords: post-punk; new wave; periphery; subculture; sociology of music; sociology of cultural processes; England

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