Dr Laura Way

Below here is the abstract of the paper by Dr Laura Way from England. To be read at the first day of the international December 2021 Punk Scholars Network conference, 4 December in Amsterdam. The day organised by the Dutch PSN affiliate, jointly with the Danish/German PSN affiliate. UPDATE: due to the COVID-19 pandemic we had to move our whole Women in Punk event to spring 2022.

Dr Laura Way, like, eg, Dr Helen Reddington, also participating in the Amsterdam conference, contributes against writing punk women out of punk history in the UK. Work like that is needed in the Netherlands as well.

Forthcoming (ed. w/ Stewart): Punk Pedagogies in Practice: Disruptions and Connections. (Aug. 2021, Intellect)

Latest publications: 

Way, L. (2020) Punk, Gender and Ageing: Just Typical Girls? Emerald Publishers.

Way, L. (2020) ‘Punk is just a state of mind: Exploring what punk means to older punk women’, The Sociological Review, online at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038026120946666
Way, L. (2019) ‘”I don’t go to the gigs to go to the gigs – I don’t give a shit about the gigs!” Exploring gig attendance and older punk women’, Punk & Post-Punk, 8(2): 257-269.


Rip it up, start again? Creating zines with older punk women

Author: Laura Way, lway@lincoln.ac.uk


Despite an increasing interest in ageing and inclusion of ‘older’ participants (as opposed to a focus on ‘youth’) in subcultural scholarship, ageing punk women have not garnered the same kind of academic attention as others. This paper addresses this invisibility by taking older punk women as its substantive focus, drawing upon a research study which utilised participant-created ‘zines to help understand how older women construct and maintain punk identities.

Qualitative research is increasingly utilising ‘creative’ and/or ‘participatory’ methods and ‘zines can be understood as such a method. Whilst there has been an abundance of literature concerning pre-existing ‘zines as a source of data, less has been said concerning ‘zines which are created by participants as part of a research study itself. Despite ‘zine ‘culture’ being a key aspect of many punk scenes and a feature within the history of punk in the UK, there has been a surprising lack of punk scholars drawing upon this as a method of qualitative research.

Why was the creation of zines deemed important as part of a research study with older punk women? Indeed, what did the creation of ‘zines reveal concerning the construction of identity by older punk women? This paper will reflect upon the methodological advantages and challenges of such an approach in the context of research with older, or ‘ageing’, punk women and consider how these ‘zine pages were constructed to talk about issues significant to them.