Change the Record: Punk Women Music Politics

Franklin, M. I.. 2020. Change the Record: Punk Women Music Politics. Bremen (Germany): Transcript Press. [Book] (Forthcoming)

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Abstract or Description

A string of memoirs published by women musicians in the last few years has been challenging standard, androcentric accounts of the various “indie” music scenes kick-started forty years ago with the arrival of punk as a movement for socioeconomic and cultural change. At the heart of this study are seven memoirs by six groundbreaking musicians from this period: Patti Smith, Viv Albertine, Kim Gordon, Carrie Brownstein, Chrissie Hynde, Britt Smith Start, and Cosi Fanni Tutti. This book treats these memoirs as important contributions to public perceptions, and the back catalogue of punk music, including the sounds of its precursors and offshoots. They are also timely correctives to the academic and trade literatures on the musical, and cultural significance of punk from the point of women musicians who were there, making it happen. First-person accounts like these can inform inquiries into the words and music, and with that the subversive qualities, creative and political agency of the female (e.g. girl in a band, girl band, woman-with-guitar), rather than the now familiar tropes of the androgynous male Other (e.g. Ziggy Stardust, Boy George).

This book is interested in investigating how the publication of so many memoirs that fall under the rubric of “punk-chick lit” can shift ingrained attitudes about women in music/as “rock ‘n’ roll animals” (to borrow from the late Lou Reed) that pivot on essentialist categories and fuzzy aesthetics. I show how they can provide new angles, and approaches to inquiries into the interconnections between the political and cultural domains in the study of world politics in particular. I then take this line of thought into other disciplines, to explore how these memoirs provide access to substantive material, avenues to further inquiry between the lines in light of how feminist, and other critical schools of thought in contemporary music research are looking to reconnect analyses of the sonic and literary output of individual musicians, or musical traditions, to the sociopolitical issues of the day.

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Additional Information:

The conference paper that forms the basis for this book is available at

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

11 Sep 2018 15:07

Last Modified:

11 Sep 2018 15:07


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