How I Left The National Grid: A Creative Writing PhD on Self-Design and Post-Punk


I thought a blog post making my PhD readily available online might be helpful. This was a Creative Writing PhD on self-design in the post-punk movement. The novel component of the PhD, entitled 'How I Left The National Grid', is available as a free preview on Google Books, here- 

Abstract

Through creative and critical practice, this PhD makes an original contribution by developing theories of self-design in relation to understandings and creative representations of the post-punk movement. These materials inform the creative component of this PhD, a novel entitled How I Left The National Grid (hereafter, HILTNG). Broadly, speaking, the results, discussion and conclusion for the PhD are as follows:The term ‘self-design’ builds upon the research of Stephen Greenblatt (1980). Greenblatt used the term ‘self-fashioning’ to explore the how people in the Renaissance created their own identities in relation to ideological structures and social pressures, in a manner we recognise today. This idea of self-design recurs in the context of the punk movement, drawing from the work of Dick Hebdige (1979). This PhD uses Stuart Hall’s (2000) theories of articulation in reference to post-punk bands such as Joy Division. This allows for a more ‘post-punk’ understanding and contextualistion of self-design. This is partly possible because Hall’s consideration of ‘landscapes’ within an artists’ work led to a theoretical consideration of how post- punk musicians used landscapes as part of their identity.

Drawing from the work of Dick Hebdige (1979) and Stuart Hall (1989), self-design is thereby understood as a consequence of cultural moments in which self-expression becomes an acute concern. The historical research of Andy Beckett (2010) is drawn from. This allows the PhD to offer a context regarding how self-design has become most important during post-war, and recession-era Britain. This PhD also considers novels about contemporary music. The resulting analyses offer an insight into how works of fiction have creatively portrayed self-design in music and post-punk. Such books also offer a context to situate how HILTNG portrays the post-punk movement.

Thesis available here-



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