Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Dr. Christopher Keep


This thesis returns love to the purview of Marxism and punk, which had attempted to ban the interpersonal in respective critiques of abstractions. Love-as-sense—as it is figured by Marx— will be distinguished from the love-of-love-songs, and from commodity fetishism and alienation, which relate to this recuperated love qua perception or experience. As its musical output exhibited residue of free love’s failure, and cited sixties pop which characterized love as mutual ownership, American and British punk from 1976-80 will be analyzed for its interrogation of commodified love. An introductory chapter will define love as an aesthetic activity and organize theoretical and musical sources according to the prominence of the body. The second chapter considers fetishisms and the coerced body-as-commodity. The third chapter emphasizes gender, bodily inscribed alienation, and disruptions of punk’s material-immaterial cohesion. A concluding chapter employs Marxist theories of rhythms to posit atypical punk music as a spatiotemporal habitat conducive to love-as-sense.