Safety Pin as Signifier

25 years after punk rock exploded, scholars ponder its role in cultural history

In the summer of 1977, Time and Newsweek informed their readers of a new subculture, called "punk," that had emerged at a few rock clubs in the United States and Britain. It was a style of exuberant ugliness. Men and women alike wore short hair that had been cut seemingly at random, and dyed unnatural colors. Flesh was pierced in sundry locations, at times with safety pins. Punk bands had names like the Dead