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


Miyawaki, Michael


Sociology and Anthropology


Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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