Who remembers post-punk women?

Ward, Jessica Blaise ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5268-9987 (2019) Who remembers post-punk women? Punk &Post-Punk, 8 (3). ISSN 2044-1983


Who remembers post-punk? Its cultural and musical presence in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is often celebrated by many, despite the numerous hardships that British society faced. From industrial disputes and strikes to anti-Thatcherism and youth unemployment, it was a transitionary time in British history. How do we remember post-punk? Established since the 1940s, memory work and oral histories provide an opportunity for this, although they simultaneously raise a multitude of issues, not least from terminology. ‘Individual memory’ and ‘collective memory’ both allow for misrepresentations, although Sara Jones contends that the latter ‘requires actors, both individual and institutional, to construct, transmit, and support particular narratives of the past’. It is hence paramount to ask: who has been permitted to remember? When considering memory alongside gender identity and post-punk, one can observe some of the opportunities that it afforded women, and yet debate continues to contest their ‘empowerment’ and ‘increased’ representation in popular music. Historically much memory work has been conducted by women, whilst oral histories of punk and post-punk have predominantly been written by men. Ultimately, this article examines the memory and representation of women through semi-structured interviews, revealing anecdotal nostalgia of post-punk by members of what was termed Generation X (those born between 1955 and 1975).

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