In search of the real, enamored with the authentic
Lewin, Philip George
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Three problems plague most prior research on the ³autihdeennttitiiecs: i ty´ of subcultural scholars have assumed the objectivity of authenticity, overemphasized style as objective marker of it, and neglected to consider how subcultural concern with it links up to broader societal milieus. This project informs these problems through an ethnographic investigation of punk subculture. It finds that the meaning of authenticity for punks lies in a value system that resembles Romantic aesthetics, that punks convey authenticity by invoking a consistent narrative structure to account for their identities, and that punks achieve ontological security with respect to their identities by attending concerts that serve as integrating rituals. In conclusion, I reconceptualize punk as a subculture of authenticity at its core rather than one in which it merely serves as a status for which participants vie, discussing how larger cultural currents orient the subcultural participation of many individuals.