Recuperation

american idiot

Recuperation [ri-koo-puh-rey-shuhn] is the process by which socially radical ideas are commodified and incorporated into mainstream society. It is the opposite of détournement, in which conventional ideas and images are commodified with radical intentions. Recuperation was first proposed by Marxist theorist Guy Debord and the Situationists. The term sometimes carries a negative connotation among radicals because recuperation often bears the consequence (whether intended or unintended) of fundamentally altering the meanings behind ideas and symbols due to their appropriation into mainstream culture, often to the dismay of the radical groups who originated them.

A dynamic similar to recuperation often occurs in the sphere of the punk rock subculture: many musical styles developed from punk rock (such as Grunge, Thrash metal, Metalcore, Post-punk, Indie rock, New Wave, Emo, and Pop punk) have garnered mainstream popularity; artists of these genres have signed to major labels, and have become household names in the mainstream culture. Kurt Cobain, in his journals, often expressed resentment at how his own band played into this situation. The formerly punk-rock group Chumbawumba, has attempted to subvert the recuperation concept by intentionally ‘selling out’ but then using their earned money to donate to the radical causes.

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