DIY Ethic

The emergence of the Punk subculture in the latter half of the seventies also brought with it a whole manifesto of anti-establishment ideology, of which the DIY ethic is arguably the most significant and enduring. The Punk DIY ethic developed as an effort to reject the mass produced media and cultural products which punks felt they were being forced to consume, instead of passively ingesting mainstream cultural products they sought to be proactive in their cultural activity. 


  • “The driving ethic behind most sincere Punk efforts is DIY – Do it yourself. We don’t need to rely on rich business men to organize our fun for their profit – we can do it ourselves for no profit. We punks can organise gigs, organise and attend demos, put out records, publish books and fanzines, set-up mail-order distributions for our products, run record stores, distribute literature, encourage boycotts, and participate in political activities. We do all of these things and we do them well. Can any other youth-based counterculture of the 80’s and 90’s claim so much? ” (Joel PE #11/12, Autumn 1991, 10).



Punks set up their on bands, and when no one would let them play they began to organise their own gigs and establish their own record labels from which they could distribute their music. And when they couldn't get their records into the shops without corporate backing, punks even set up their very own record shops from which they could sell their self-produced albums. But it wasn't just the musicians who where doing-it-for-themselves, a whole new troop of punk journalists comprised of die-hard fans had begun to write and publish their own fanzines, or 'zines. They often used letters cut out of newspapers and magazines to effect a punk aesthetic and then xeroxed the pages, stapled them together and distributed the fanzine to their mailing list. The key underlining concept of the punk DIY ethic was that anyone could be a producer or a consumer, the line between the two had been blurred. Punks had felt alienated by the mystic and grandeur that surrounded mainstream pop-artists, they felt like these people came from a different planet. They wanted to connect with their musicians and cultural producers on a much more intimate level and they wanted their consumables to come from people just like them.

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