Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Rebellious Religion: Christian Hardcore and Muslim 'Taqwacore' Punk Rock

McDowell, Amy (2014) Rebellious Religion: Christian Hardcore and Muslim 'Taqwacore' Punk Rock. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (1MB) | Preview


This study shows how U.S. Christian Hardcore and Muslim ‘Taqwacore’ (taqwa means ‘god consciousness’ in Arabic) youth fuse traditional religions and punk rock music outside of religious institutions. It is part of a new cultural turn in the sociological study of religion that regards religion and secular culture as potentially interactive and mutually reinforcing. I examine the process by which both groups adapt D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) hardcore punk to make religion their own; how they present themselves as religious/punk in subcultural settings; and how they define themselves internally as well as externally. To understand how Christian Hardcore and Taqwacore youth bridge religion and punk, I collected ethnographic data from intensive interviews, participant observations, surveys of audience members, and artifacts such as albums, films, images, newspaper articles, and websites about these two music scenes. I find that Christian Hardcore and Taqwacore youth both draw on the oppositional aspects of hardcore punk to combine religion and punk. Yet their relationships to religious and social institutions shape how they use hardcore punk. Christian Hardcore youth are influenced by the white Protestant evangelical institutions that support their music as a ministry. They oppose the “mainstream church” that condemns their punk music and the “anti-Christian” punks who reject them for being Christian. Taqwacores face a much different set of challenges. They are rejected from traditional Islamic institutions, American society, and white dominated punk. Consequently, they oppose the very idea of Islam, America and punk. In conclusion, I argue that subcultural Christian and Muslim youth rebel against religious/secular boundaries to make religion their own and in effect challenge how scholars commonly study religion and religious identity.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBlee, Kathleenkblee@pitt.eduKBLEE
Committee MemberBamyeh, Mohammedmab205@pitt.eduMAB205
Committee MemberHashimoto, Akikoahash@pitt.eduAHASH
Committee MemberKane, Paulapmk@pitt.eduPMK
Date: 29 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 17 December 2013
Approval Date: 29 May 2014
Submission Date: 9 March 2014
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 204
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Contemporary Christian Music; Evangelical; Islam; Islamophobia; Masculinity; Music; Music Scene; Subculture; Youth
Date Deposited: 29 May 2014 21:13
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 05:15


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item