Crust Punk: Apocalyptic Rhetoric and Dystopian Performatives



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The main focus of this thesis is to understand the myriad ways in which crust punk as an expressive cultural form creates meaning, forms the basis for social formation (or music scene), and informs the ways in which its participants both interact with and understand the world around them. Fieldwork for this research was conducted during the summer of 2012 in Austin, Texas. Primary methodology included participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and online ethnography. Additional research data was collected over the last five years through my own personal involvement with the crust punk music scene.

The first section examines the ways in which crust punk as a genre both continues to evolve by avoiding and disavowing genre definitions and boundaries. The second section addresses my particular experiences with the Austin, Texas crust punk scene. I separate and examine the differences within the scene among and between differing levels of participation in various scene practices. These practices include the everyday practices necessary to maintain the music scene, as well as ?anarchist? practices such as squatting, train hopping, transiency, and refusal to work.

In the final section, I argue that in the crust punk scene dystopian performatives enable an apocalyptic and dystopic view of the world, building upon Jill Dolan?s theory of utopian performatives. I also outline my theory on how dystopian performatives and apocalyptic rhetoric work together to inflect crust punk structures of feelings and social imaginaries.