Topic: Steampunk, political?

From the Introduction to Steampunk Magazine, volume 4:

Contrary to what we often see on blogs and in forums, steampunk is inherently political. Daring to wear what we want and creating communities in our imagine is rebellious. Popular or no, steampunk is not commonplace. It is anti-establishment. It is dangerous to pluck our dreams from muddy scribbling and coax them into existence in three dimensions.

So is steampunk political?

If choosing to wear Neo-Victorian, possibly provocative fashion & decorating in steampunk style could be considered "anti-establishment," then I suppose it is.  However, I don't feel steampunk is strongly anti-establishment so much as many other subcultures are.

Indeed, steampunk seems to accept the status-quo and seeks little social, let alone, political, change.  Steampunk enthusiasts typically have little political motives;  indeed, the steampunk community seems to harbor many different people, with many different political views.

What steampunk, as a subculture, seeks foremost, is not to force but encourage change in people's perceptions about technology -- we want to revive appreciation for technology and people to make technology personal again.

In terms of social thought, steampunk enthusiasts might embrace Victorian sensibilities in terms of politeness and dignity, but by no means they seek to enforce their perceptions upon society as a whole -- unlike some other subcultures which regard their ideology to superior to others.  Steampunk, contrary, is by no means so presumptuous and welcomes debate and different views.

Is steampunk political?  If one considers daring to dress, talk, live and do as one pleases in spite of it not being mainstream "political" -- then, yes, I suppose it is.  But I don't think that's political.  That's a characteristic of every subculture.

Steampunk is not political.

Re: Steampunk, political?

I agree.  I believe that steampunk is political insomuch as it is a subculture; and subcultures, by definition, run counter to mainstream culture.  However, I believe that is where the politicalization ends.  I believe that the author was trying to make his point by playing off of the "Punk" aspect of "Steampunk"; using the original political ideas of the Punk movement to draw similarities.

Re: Steampunk, political?

Looking at steampunk in literature I think it's more a comment on the strict Victorian culture and all it's rigid rules, including class-society, slaves, colonisation, human-unfriendly clothing, and so on. It doesn't adore the Victorians, but kicks it around a bit, hence the punk part.

Just call me Jack

Re: Steampunk, political?

Steampunk magazine are known for thier utter, pointless drivel. I also think thier design is crappy and hard to read and the whole thing is a complete waste of time that would better be spent reading Victorian storypapers.

Re: Steampunk, political?

Well I for one do like their design... smile

Besides, the interviews are usually nice.  I must admit I hardly ever read the fiction though.

As for the magazine on the whole, I think we should be slightly more appreciative of its very existence, for its mere publication is a sign of steampunk's popularity and helps spread cognition about the genre.

6 (edited by kiskolou 2008-02-28 20:44)

Re: Steampunk, political?

I, for one, like the magazine. It may often appear a bit extreme (because it is), but i don't think it pretends not to be. Sometimes radicals are needed to get things moving, we can balance ourselves.

It would be better to say philosophical than political.

Your reality sir, is lies and balderdash, and i am delighted to say i have no grasp of it whatsoever!

Re: Steampunk, political?

I like Steampunk Magazine.  While I don't always agree with it, the people would publish it are quite dedicated.  I generally enjoy reading it, though like Ottens I read it more for its articles and artwork than its prose.  It's quite amazing that such a resource is even available and for free no less!  Most other subcultures, even larger and more established ones, cannot boast of such a thing.

Re: Steampunk, political?

I quite agree with Kiskolou;  Steampunk Magazine might represent a bit of a radical approach to steampunk.  But perhaps in its radical form is a subculture best defined?  At the very least, it is radicals who inspire debate and that is something I think the Steampunk Magazine does particularly for which I welcome it!

QAB is right in that we should proud ourselves on the resourcefulness of those we can count amidst Us, for many subcultures which, like steampunk, exist as a predominantly online affair, do not produce such a wide variety of publications of which Steampunk Magazine is one.

Re: Steampunk, political?

I don't think Steampunk is political anymore than the rest of you have pointed out, though some elements of it are, certain SP individuals have a political bent to their character, but that is not a bad thing really. I for one am quite politicised, but I wouldn't say the genre/Sub-culture (which I cannot truly count myself as a member of) is.

Re: Steampunk, political?

Of course Sp is political how can it be otherwise? A world imagined, running contrary to the petroleum industry, wage slavery and dull consumption  .......
"In the modern world, in which thousands of people are dying every hour as a consequence of politics, no writing anywhere can begin to be credible unless it is informed by political awareness and principles. Writers who have neither product utopian trash."

John Berger