Straight edge evangelicalism and DIY spirituality

Stewart, F. and Abraham, I. (2019) Straight edge evangelicalism and DIY spirituality. In: Christian Punk: Identity and Performance. Bloomsbury Studies in Religion and Popular Music . Bloomsbury, pp. 67-84. ISBN 9781350094802

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Straight edge emerged in the American hardcore punk scene in the early 1980s as a secular humanist ideology advocating abstinence from intoxication, in conflict with the conventional morality of late capitalist society in general, and with the conventional morality of the punk subculture in particular. Drawing on fieldwork in the punk scenes of Australia, the UK, and the USA, this chapter critically analyses two key religious trends in the straight edge movement, which also tell us a great deal about how belief is articulated in punk in general, and contemporary Western society more broadly. Firstly, evangelical Christianity, the most prominent expression of religion within the global punk subculture, often taking a Pentecostal form. Secondly, the diverse and discordant spiritual subjectivities circulating within punk scenes we have called “DIY spirituality” (Abraham & Stewart 2016: 249-50). Building upon the idea of punk’s self-reliant, do-it-yourself ethic, and Paul Heelas’s (1996) definition of New Age religion as “self-spirituality,” the concept of DIY spirituality also finds affinity with Nicholas Hookway’s (2018) theory of “do-it-yourself morality,” an ethical system emphasizing “the authority of the self, choice and ideals of authenticity.” We will find that in spite of obvious differences between straight edge evangelicalism and straight edge DIY spirituality, in both cases belief is articulated in a highly personal manner, in keeping with the general “subjective turn” in Western culture, as analyzed in philosopher Charles Taylor’s (1989, 2007) cultural histories, and as theorized in the empirical research of sociologists Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead (2005).

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2019 Bloomsbury. This is an author-produced version of a chapter accepted for publication in Christian Punk: Identity and Performance. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Divisions: School of Humanities
Depositing User: Francis Stewart
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 13:39
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2021 10:34

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