Dow, Todd (2021) The Migration of Mod: Analysing the Mod Subculture in the North of England. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In its present form Mod is regarded as a national and global subculture intrinsically linked to British culture. Richard Weight has claimed that Mod is ‘Britain’s biggest youth movement.’1 A statement which holds true, as since its emergence in London’s East End in the late 1950s, the subculture has grown substantially. However, for many, Mod is still seen as a “southern phenomenon” associated with “swinging London” and the bank holiday beach battles, resulting in it being represented as a 1960s London “fad”.2 Bar a handful of publications such as Keith Gildart’s Images of England Through Popular Music, and Christine Feldman’s “We are the Mods”, most of the academic literature on the Mod subculture is plagued by these two assumptions. As such, both the academic and general literature present a partial view of the culture in terms of a 1960s monolithic London-based scene. While it would be fair to say that the Mod subculture did begin in the late 1950s in London, as Anderson rightly suggests, ‘it soon rampaged across the country like a speed-fuelled plague,’3 becoming nationwide by 1964, even if the media did not recognise it as a national scene. Mod was adopted by teenagers in the North during the sixties and re-emerged in greater numbers during the Revival of the late 1970s. Rawlings argues Mods are ‘the only group readily embraced by different generations,’ as its original values have ‘transcended their early Sixties origins’ being ‘rediscovered, redeveloped and renewed’ by successive ‘tribes of “New Mods”.’4 The period of the Mod Revival in the late 1970s through to the early 1980s, despite its clear importance as a period of increased Mod activity, has been overlooked by the academic community. The focus on London and its surrounding areas has also led to there being little to no focus on Mod in the North. Using a myriad of primary sources this dissertation combines oral history interviews with archival methods to address this imbalance, analysing the two areas of Mod subculture that has had little academic analysis, Mods in the North of England during the Revival.

1 Weight, R. (2013). MOD: From Bebop to Britpop, Britain’s biggest youth movement. London: Vintage.
2 Hebdige, D. (1988). Hiding in the light: On images and things. London: Routledge. Page 109.
3 Anderson, P. (2014). Mods the new religion: The style and music of the 1960s Mods. London: Omnibus press. Blurb.
4 Rawlings, T., & Barnes, R. (2000). MOD: Clean living under difficult circumstances: A very British phenomenon. London: Omnibus Press. Page 5.

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