Doing Research in 'Punk Indonesia': Notes towards a non-exploitative insider methodology

Jim Donaghey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Researching punk from an insider perspective throws up important challenges, and in the context of Indonesia these issues are further complicated and intensified. This article draws on the author’s experience of, and reflections on, the process of researching ‘punk Indonesia’, augmented with reflective contributions from nine other social theorists, ethnographers and anthropologists, to suggest a research methodology that is dialogical and non-exploitative while remaining rigorous, analytical and critical. The academy’s relationship to punk has often been identified as intrusive and exploitative – and with good reason – but it is argued here that academic research into punk can be included within punk’s own tradition of self-critique, especially when that research emerges from insider perspectives. The lessons learned from insider perspectives may also be mapped effectively onto outsider approaches. A non-exploitative methodology is concerned with both research processes and research outputs, and these two aspects are closely entwined. Anarchist epistemological concerns are taken on board, along with engagements with Orientalism and Grounded Theory Method, to develop an approach that gives voice to the punks, involving them in a dialogical research process and creating research outputs that are useful to the scenes, cultures and movements that are being researched, while maintaining a high level of academic rigour, analysis and critique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-314
Number of pages24
JournalPunk and Post-Punk
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2017


  • Punk
  • Methodology
  • Epistemology
  • Ethnography
  • Orientalism
  • Grounded theory
  • Anarchism


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  • Punk and Post-Punk (Journal)

    Jim Donaghey (Peer reviewer)

    2015 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

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