Item Details

Not given lightly: Chris Knox, nationalism, whiteness and punk/indie discourse in Aoteraroa/New Zealand

Issue: Vol 20 No. 1 (2019)

Journal: Perfect Beat

Subject Areas: Popular Music

DOI: 10.1558/prbt.39470


This article examines punk/indie scenes in 1970s–80s Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ) in terms of dominant punk discourses of youth ‘resistance’, independence from mainstream values and commercial institutions, and questioning musical meaning. In line with Frith, it aims to show how these discourses were complicated if not contradicted in practice, partly due to their reembedding in settler colonies like NZ, where punk/indie became associated with traditional settler values of white masculinity in ‘pure’ natural settings, on the one hand, while also echoing high modernist discourses authenticating local culture as independent of foreign influence, again drawing on gendered discourse. Chris Knox and the Dunedin Sound are the main examples discussed. The rise of creative industries discourses in the early 2000s served to highlight competing definitions of local music in relation to national identity, as tensions arose between punk/indie’s self-identification with Pakeha masculine ‘authenticity’, and emergent constructions of New Zealand music as popular, commercial and also more gender and ethnically diverse.

Author: Matthew Bannister

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