In this study, I set out to answer three questions: How do musicians’ identity form from making-music in bands? How does social interaction between bandmates and the audience impact this identity construction? How do occupational dimensions of music-making impact this identity construction? Through six interviews with bluegrass musicians about their experiences as musicians and playing in bands and analyzed with a theoretical framework of Erving Goffman’s Dramaturgical Theory and Howard Becker’s theory of Art as Collective Action, I aim to answer these questions . To aid in this analysis, I complete a review of previous literature that sociologically considered the topics of musician’s identity, music-making and bluegrass.
Through these interviews, I find three emergent themes: audience connections play an important role in how musicians navigate their musicians’ identity, different frames of music-making (the practice session and the performance) inform how musicians perform their identity, and that musician are often motivated to play by conceptions of a greater purpose or service towards the music. In analysis, I find that while these themes are somewhat explainable by Goffman’s and Becker’s theories, my current theoretical framework cannot account for all findings
Sociology and Anthropology
Dean, Michael, "Music-making and Identity: Constructing and Collaborating on the Musicians' Self in Bluegrass Bands" (2021). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 9506.
Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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