From locality to translocality and cosmopolitanism

The rise of the Debrecen alternative–DIY scene


  • Zsolt Győri University of Debrecen



cosmopolitanism, Hungary, music scene, post-punk/new wave, subculture


This article explores the alternative music scene in Debrecen, Hungary’s second largest town, in the first decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It describes the conditions of its emergence, highlighting the influence of western music and new wave DIY subculture that served as a catalyst in the identity formation of its participants, both musicians and audiences. It argues that in contrast with the politicized rock of the Budapest underground, the international dimension served as a founding element of scene-formation in Debrecen. The aesthetic cosmopolitanism was achieved through translating the affective packages and anti-mainstream sentiments of new wave music into the local context. This research is based on conversations with prominent members of the scene, and offers several case studies of Debrecen bands. It includes song lyrics to illustrate the cosmopolitan dimension of bands and records arising from the scene. It draws on the studies of subcultures, translocality and cosmopolitanism. 

Author Biography

Zsolt Győri, University of Debrecen

Zsolt Győri is a senior lecturer at the Institute of English and American Studies, University of Debrecen. He is the editor of a collection of academic essays on British cinema (2010) and is
the co-editor of three volumes dedicated to the relationship of body, subjectivity, ethnicity, gender, space, and power in Hungarian cinema (2013, 2015, 2018). His monograph (Films, Auteurs, Critical-Clinical Readings), which offers a critical introduction to Deleuzian film philosophy and analyzes selected films, appeared in 2014. He is the co-editor of Travelling around Cultures: Collected Essays on Literature and Art (Cambridge Scholars, 2016) and is the assistant editor of the journal HJEAS.


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How to Cite

Győri, Z. (2018). From locality to translocality and cosmopolitanism: The rise of the Debrecen alternative–DIY scene. Popular Music History, 11(1), 80–99.