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Si se puede!: Chicas Rockeras and punk music education in South East Los Angeles

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In 1986, Lawrence Grossberg argued that rock ‘n’ roll empowered disillusioned post-war youth in their everyday lives. Rock ‘n’ roll offered a historical complex that hid in the crevasses from hegemonic power structure replication. Youth felt the pleasures of rock affectively, corporeally. Punk transformed ‘no future’ to ‘the time is now’, and this is the case with the discursive constructions of South East Los Angeles (SELA) as ‘dis-empowered’ and without a future or well-funded educational means to imagine that future. Chicas Rockeras utilizes punk feminist pedagogy, with a mestiza consciousness, to remind students of their past and present power, and also give them a space for their affective empowerment musically. At a time when arts education in the United States, and in this case, California, continues to be underfunded, punk pedagogies, inclusive of feminism and other ideologies, give music education a future. In conversation with recently published work on punk pedagogy and punk scholarship, this article considers how punk feminist pedagogy is well-suited to query western epistemological orientations and encourage girls’ and women’s agency through a decentring of patriarchal power, colonial power, and human-environmental labor-resource exploitation. Chicas Rockeras practices a punk feminist pedagogy that promotes institutional and social change through classroom activities and community-based activism that exposes the conditionality of inequalities, and as such, can help educators break down the walls of neatly defined ‘core’ and ‘elective’ subject matter and create critical connections.
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Keywords: California education; DIY; community activism; educational gendering; music education; punk feminism; punk pedagogy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of California, Los Angeles

Publication date: March 1, 2016

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  • Punk & Post-Punk is a journal for academics, artists, journalists and the wider cultural industries. Placing punk and its progeny at the heart of inter-disciplinary investigation, it is the first forum of its kind to explore this rich and influential topic in both historical and critical theoretical terms.
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