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Violence in the mosh pit: assault within the Australian punk scene

Barnes, A and White, R ORCID: 0000-0002-8800-0093 2019 , 'Violence in the mosh pit: assault within the Australian punk scene' , Current Issues in Criminal Justice, vol. 31, no. 1 , pp. 40-59 , doi: 10.1080/10345329.2018.1556281.

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The mosh pit is a unique crowd formation where audience members dance aggressively to engage with the music, the performers and each other. However, in this space, Australian punks may experience violations of bodily integrity. Multiple levels and types of transgression occur, as members break with mosh pit ethics by engaging in unwanted and unlawful sexual and physical violence. This case study provides an example of how group normative behaviour is confounded in liminal spaces – how transgression within such spaces undermines the supposed freedom experienced by its participants. Whilst the mosh pit is perceived to be a site governed by its own particular ethics, some defy these in word and practice. The rules of engagement are ambiguous, and offenders are able to rationalise their harms through neutralisation techniques and the diffusion of blame and responsibility. The consequence is that more often than not, offenders can use the unique physical nature of the mosh pit to execute personal vendettas and engage in intentional violence such as ‘crowd killing’ and sexual assault, with little social and legal consequence. Moreover, a certain culture of denial permeates participant responses to these issues. Throughout it all, the violence occurring has a decidedly masculine basis, reflecting overarching gender differences in interpersonal violence generally.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Barnes, A and White, R
Keywords: assault, cultural criminology, denial, mosh pit, punk scene
Journal or Publication Title: Current Issues in Criminal Justice
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1034-5329
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/10345329.2018.1556281
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Sydney Institute of Criminology

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