"Don't Tell Me I Can't, 'Cause I Have Faith:" Questions of Religion in Contemporary American Straight Edge

Madeleine Scott, Rollins College


In opposition to both the cultural hegemony of a ‘mainstream’ and subcultural precedent exists straight edge, the hardcore punk-derived subculture whose practitioners abstain from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. By way of both ethnographic work and theory of religion, this paper examines straight edge in the contemporary United States as a subculture (or lifestyle, or movement) which has come in thought and practice to resemble something which may be considered ‘religion.’