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The masks of anarchy : a theoretical study of the intersections between punk and alternative comedy

Bonello Rutter Giappone, Krista (2012) The masks of anarchy : a theoretical study of the intersections between punk and alternative comedy. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86511) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:86511)

Language: English

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Punk's place within pop-cultural history is assured, yet in the claims made for its 'serious' and revolutionary role, the part played by the comic in its critical function remains relatively under-explored. This thesis aims to investigate this dimension in greater depth, pursuing the intersections further into punk's own influence on the subsequent growth of alternative comedy. As with any movement that emphasises 'newness' and change, punk and alternative comedy defined themselves against a ' past' and a 'dominant'. The cultural context and their [disengagement [from]with it will be explored through a theoretical analysis which takes in both the parodic aspect, and punk's attempted reconfiguration of the very terms of ' history' and relation to context - space, time, memory, past, future. Punk will be considered as both a 'post modem' phenomenon, and as mounting a challenge to postmodernism. One major area of change, touching upon shifting boundaries of power in performance, is that of the performer-audience dynamic. The techniques available to alternative comedians will be seen to be indebted to the altered dynamic

enabled by punk. The deconstruction of hierarchies will be discussed in tandem with the continued struggle for dominance. The interplay of alienation and engagement, violence and play, along with the invocation of the abject, will be considered in relation to comic theory.

Notions of honesty in performance emerge throughout as particularly crucial in both punk and alternative comedy's self-construction, and the

implications of this for identity and onstage personae will be examined. The move from 'truth of performance' to 'performative fiction' will he considered in relation to attempted contextual reconfigurations, with the entailed question of the 'amateur's' incomplete abdication of responsibility. I will suggest that alternative comedy makes an effort to redress punk's lapses on this point, and thence to restore a sense of political responsibility.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86511
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: punk; comedy
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1969.C65 Comedy acts. Stand-up comedy
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 13:55 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2022 08:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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