HomeThe punk scene in France (1976-2016): forty years of history

HomeThe punk scene in France (1976-2016): forty years of history

The punk scene in France (1976-2016): forty years of history

La scène punk en France (1976-2016): quarante ans d'histoire

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Published on Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Ce colloque a pour objecjtif de revisiter la pertinence des périodisations et des ruptures qui définissent et organisent quarante ans de scène punk en France, de dépasser le spectre d’un phénomène réduit à l’évidence culturelle anglo-américaine et d’étudier comment s’élaborent et se négocient les frontières entre une culture hégémonique et une culture restreinte de la subversion.


International and interdisciplinary conference organized by CESR (U. François Rabelais/CNRS/MCC) and THALIM (CNRS/ENS/U. Paris 3) In association with the Punk Scholars Network
Philharmonie de Paris, 25 and 26 November 2016


During the summer of 1976, simultaneously in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and across many European countries including France, scores of musical groups were suddenly being referred to in the press or self-defining themselves as “punk”, a slang term meaning lout, a good-for-nothing, a worthless nobody. Defined by Hebdige as an “unnatural synthesis” and an “alliance of diverse and superficially incompatible musical traditions”, all of these groups had one thing in common: the desire to wipe the slate of rock history clean and to start from scratch, thanks to a form of music which laid stress on simplicity,on lyrics which derided social and political conventions, and on an energetic and confrontational attitude.

In the stultifying France of president Valérie Giscard d’Estaing, where the ebbing shadow of Gaullism and of the May 1968 student protests lingered on, the punk explosion, signalled as early as summer 1976 by the Mont-de-Marsan festival, defied the pervasive gloom linked to the economic crisis and to rising unemployment, and voiced its refusal of boredom. The first stage of a movement which asserted lack of hope and of prospects – summed up by the motto “No Future” – came to a close in 1978 when across the Western world, many iconic groups brought about their own end and a large number of scenes disappeared,upstaged by emerging musical trends such as post-punk, new wave and disco. And yet punk was to be rejuvenated in France, as elsewhere, by the emergence of a novel wave of punk which was characterised by a harsher and less melodic sound and by more politically committed lyrics, the appearance of new musical categories (street punk, hardcore, oi, etc.) and new sartorial codes (studded leather, Mohican haircuts, etc.), reinventing what it means to sound punk and to be punk up until this very day. The study of this ever-unfolding and evolving history, with all of its paradoxes, strengths and weaknesses, is the task which lies at the heart of this conference.        

The aim of the conference is thus to reconsider the relevance of the periodizations and turning-points which are taken to define and structure France”s forty-year-old punk scene, to transcend interpretations which view the punk phenomenon as an essentially Anglo-American cultural expression and to examine how the boundaries between a hegemonic culture and a relatively subversive culture are constructed and negotiated.

Submission guidelines

Proposals should be submitted

no later than the 15th September 2016

and sent to the following addresses :  luc.robene@ubordeaux.fr and solveig.serre@gmail.com. They should include a title, an abstract (15 lines max) and a short biography and bibliography (10 lines max). The presentations will last 20 minutes and will be followed by a discussion. 

Conference languages: French and English

Scientific responsability

  • Luc Robène
  • Solveig Serre


  • Phiharmonie de Paris
    Paris, France (75)


  • Thursday, September 15, 2016

Attached files


  • musique, punk, scène, France, transfert culturel, violence, corps, son, genre


  • Solveig Serre
    courriel : solveig [dot] serre [at] cnrs [dot] fr
  • Luc Robène
    courriel : luc [dot] robene [at] u-bordeaux [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Solveig Serre
    courriel : solveig [dot] serre [at] cnrs [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The punk scene in France (1976-2016): forty years of history », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, August 03, 2016, https://doi.org/10.58079/vjm

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