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Punks and Skins United: Identity, Class and the Economics of an Eastern German Subculture

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Volume 5

Anthropology of Europe

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Punks and Skins United

Identity, Class and the Economics of an Eastern German Subculture

Aimar Ventsel

194 pages, 15 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-860-3 $120.00/£89.00 / Hb / Published (August 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-861-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Ventsel provides a functional overview for those who do not know much about punk (music) or the (life-)style quoting the varied studies on the subculture…[His] profound exploration of a specific scene of grown-up punks and their life plans is an asset. He offers a detailed description of the microcosm that is GiG with its protagonists, their families, housing situations, and their jobs—mainly in construction or service industries, or off the grid altogether. He embeds his observations in a broader context of location, ‘Ostpunk’ identity, and gender roles. These insights are only sharpened given the harsh contrast to the bourgeois mainstream.” • German Studies Review

“This book is an honest piece and offers generalizing pleasures of recognition to anyone who has ever been actively involved in a subculture.” • Postimees

“[This book] is really interesting, provides fascinating insights and presents questions for the scholarship and future study.” • Matthew Worley, University of Reading


Germany has one of the liveliest and well-developed punk scenes in the world. However, punk in this country is not just a style-based music community. This book provides an anthropological examination of how punk reflects the larger changes and contradictions in post-reunification Germany, such as social segmentation, east-west tensions and local politics. Punk in eastern Germany is a reaction to the marginalization of the working class. As a cultural, social and economic niche, punks create their own controversial “substitute society” to compensate for their low status in mainstream society.

Aimar Ventsel is a Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Ethnology in University of Tartu, Estonia. He was a founding member of the Siberia Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. From 2009 to 2013 he participated as a Research Associate of the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, in the project “Post-Socialist Punk: Beyond the double irony of self-abasement” where he conducted fieldwork in eastern Germany on punk and skinhead subculture.

Subject: Anthropology (General)SociologyCultural Studies (General)Political and Economic Anthropology
Area: Germany


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