Resisting While Producing: Do-It-Yourself Ethics in Turkiye’s Punk SceneEce N. Alparslan, Şengül İnce
This study is an inquiry into how alternative music production can be conducted outside of the music industry, which occupies an important place in the capitalist system, and how this form of production can shape the resulting product. The fact that capitalism requires a profit motive means that works of art are inevitably commodified. This study focuses on the production and distribution of punk music in Turkey in order to understand whether producing another kind of music is possible or not without using the capitalist tools of production and distribution and, if so, how. The study collected qualitative data through the participant observations and answers to semi-structured interview questions from 20 people in Turkey’s punk scene. The results indicate that those in the punk scene in Turkey have developed alternatives to the rules set by the music industry and as determined by the capitalist system because they do not seek profit or fame. Rather than standardizing their art to reach a wider audience, they have instead refused to give up their creative autonomy, even if this limits their audience. As can be clearly seen in the findings, the process of producing and distributing punk music in Turkey is the very thing what De Certeau (1980/2008) calls the art of making-do when describing resistance in everyday life. Because punk artists in Turkey neither seek profit nor fame regarding either the production or distribution of their music, they have developed alternatives to the rules the music industry has set and the capitalist system has determined. Punk artists refuse to give up their creative autonomy rather than standardizing their sound to reach a wider audience, even if this limits their audience. As can be clearly seen in the findings, the production and distribution of punk art is the very thing what de Certeau (1980/2008) called the art of making do when describing resistance in daily life. The Internet, bars, streets, and even music are used in different ways than those in power intend and organize; those in the punk scene use their art in ways that are transformed by the tactics of ordinary people and that constitute an alternative to the mainstream system. Scott (1992/2014) stated that the main function of subcultures is to be a space in which people can distribute opposing discourses freely and without fear. Accordingly, the voices of feminists, queer activists and antifascists have emerged within Turkey’s punk scene, in which messages about ideologies such as veganism, anarchism, and socialism are given freely and without fear and presented as alternatives to capitalism. Punk artists seem to have succeeded in putting into practice the ideological messages they present in their songs by putting forth an alternative mode of production and distribution that emphasize solidarity and support, unlike the capitalist system that puts competition and profit first.
Üretirken Direnmek: Türkiye Punk Sahnesinde Kendin YapEce N. Alparslan, Şengül İnce
Bu çalışma, kapitalist sistemin içinde önemli bir alan işgal eden müzik endüstrisinin dışında kalarak alternatif yollarla müzik üretiminin nasıl gerçekleştiğini, bu üretim biçiminin ortaya çıkan ürünü nasıl biçimlendirebileceğini sorgulamaktadır. Kapitalizmde, üretimin ticari kaygılarla gerçekleştiriliyor olması, sanat ürünlerinin, özellikle bir endüstri haline gelen müzik alanında, kâr amacıyla yapılan bir iş haline gelmesine neden olmaktadır. Bir sanat dalı olan müzik de kapitalist sistem içinde bir endüstri dalı haline gelmiş, müzik eserleri, standart ürünler olarak “kültür endüstrisi”nin önemli bir parçası olmuştur. Müzik, endüstriyel bir ürün olduğunda ise özgürleştirmek ve düşündürmekten çok, sınırlayan bir ürün haline gelmektedir. Bu çalışma ise bu durumun aksine bir örnek üzerinden yapılandırılmış ve kapitalist üretim ve dağıtım araçlarını kullanmadan müzik endüstrisi içinde “başka bir müziğin” yapılma olanağını, nasıl yapıldığını ve dinleyicileriyle buluşma süreci ve yollarını anlamak için punk müziğin üretim ve dağıtımına odaklanılmıştır. Punk müziğin üretim ve tüketim süreçleriyle ilişkili 20 kişiyle yarı-yapılandırılmış derinlemesine görüşmeler ve katılımlı gözlem teknikleriyle nitel veri toplanan çalışmada, punk müziğin kendin yap (DIY) ilkesiyle yaratıldığı, kâr amacı gütmeyen bu üretimin yaratımı özgürleştirdiği, bireylerin kendilerini rahatça ifade edebildiği, farklı düşünceleri keşfedebildiği, kapsayıcı bir alan yarattığı ve rekabetin aksine bir dayanışma kültürü yarattığı anlaşılmıştır.
Adorno (1976, as cited in Bennett, 2018, p. 192) stated music to be a communicative language, and according to him, music has several social functions such as helping people make sense of their everyday lives and positioning themselves within society accordingly. Adorno also claimed the contemporary products of the music industry to commodify themselves by presenting them as entertainment and to be used by the ruling class with the aim of convincing listeners that no problem exists with the way society is organized (pp. 41–55). However, if music can be used by the ruling class to strengthen their ideological position, the opposite may also very well be possible. How music and its related subcultures are able to become forms of resistance can be understood by studying de Certeau’s (1980/2008) and James Scott’s (1992/2014) conceptualizations of strategy, tactics, domination, and resistance. This study uses these concepts in order to seek an answer to the question of how music can be used in the context of resistance.The music industry has a variety of strict rules and restrictions. For example, music produced and distributed within the industry is often owned by the recording companies, not by the composer, lyricist, or singer. Because the priority is to make a profit, the value of a work is related to how much it is listened to and sold. Thus, the products that are considered to be successful are constantly reproduced, and similar products reemerge. The same can be said for artists. Artists are produced to be stars, and their lives and public image are controlled and sold, which means they have limited personal freedom and artistic autonomy. Moreover, supervisory bodies such as Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) are also able to have control over musical works and apply various censorships. As such, one can consider through de Certeau’s concepts of resistance, strategy and tactics that artists exist who are looking for a way out of the music industry. According to de Certeau (1980/2008), actors in everyday life do not passively accept and apply whatever is imposed on them; they are both the users and creators of culture in everyday life. Scott (1992/2014, p. 181) additionally stated subcultures to be important sites of resistance and hidden scenarios in daily life because they create a social space where the opposing ideological discourses created by the weak can be voiced safely.