Acid House and Thatcherism: noise, the mob and the English countryside

Hill, Andrew (2002). Acid House and Thatcherism: noise, the mob and the English countryside. British Journal of Sociology, 53(1) pp. 89–105.



This paper examines why the late 1980s youth subculture Acid House provoked a moral panic of the scale and intensity that it did. The subculture is conceived
as presenting a disruptive presence to Thatcherism as an hegemonic project. The terms under which this occurred are examined through the themes of noise, the mob, and the disruption of bureaucratic authority. The presence of Acid House within the English countr yside, and in particular the Home Counties, is situated as enhancing the problematic status of the subculture. The scale of measures taken against Acid House is related to Thatcherism’s ‘authoritarian populism’. Acid House is located in terms of a history of similar forms of popular cultural activity. The coverage of Acid House in The Sun and The Daily Mail, and the parliamentary debate around the second reading of the Entertainments (Increased Penalties) Act, are drawn upon throughout.

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