(2008) JLP 57: 45-100
This paper discusses social and economic networks within the punk and skinhead culture in two East German cities. The skins’ and punks’ main ideological position is to demonstrate that they are an autonomous group. They regard themselves as a subculture with different values and social norms from the values and social norms of the mainstream society. Skins and punks have created complicated social and economic networks linking various cities. Within these “scene networks” favours, jobs and services circulate to keep people economically independent from the state structures. The most important part of the sub-cultural ideology are the notions of ‘unity’ and ‘loyalty’. People involved in such networks regard themselves as ‘family’ members with the obligation to loyalty and mutual support. On the one hand, their ideology justifies illegal behaviour and the setting up of semi-autonomous social networks. On the other hand, these people cannot ignore the state completely and therefore need justifications for a strategy to cope with state structures, legal situations, and their own behaviour as ‘normal’ citizens, although in such cases a sub-cultural ideology is used. The paper shows how semi-legal economic behaviour is linked to the underground ideology and music culture. As a theoretical framework it uses the concept of the ‘semi-autonomous social field’ (Moore 1973), in order to show that being part of a group that understands itself to be outside of mainstream society affects aspects of the behaviour of members of the subculture.