“Feels Blind”: Counter-Hegemony in Alternative Rock During the Reagan/Thatcher Era

  • Kenneth L. Shonk
  • Daniel Robert McClureEmail author
Part of the Pop Music, Culture and Identity book series (PMCI)


This chapter examines the rise of alternative music as a challenge to mainstream hegemony. Born out of college rock, jangle pop, post-punk, and hardcore punk, alternative music evolved through the 1980s by constructing its own structures including record stores, college radio, and the spirit of “doing it yourself.” Alongside an independent infrastructure, alternative rock produced a counter-hegemonic, non-mainstream approach to music—ranging from political engagement to aesthetics. Ironically, this music from the margins eventually became the hegemonic music in the late 1980s and early 1990s, reflecting the way mainstream culture regenerates its marketing power through the incorporation of alternative cultures.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin–La CrosseLa CrosseUSA
  2. 2.Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA

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