Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

This book has been a long journey. In some ways, it feels like an album that took ten years to create. I am very grateful to many people for their intellectual contributions and support during the research, writing, revision, and rethinking of this book. I would like to express my profound appreciation to my academic mentors: Alessandro Duranti, Jacques Maquet, Douglas Hollan, Janet Bergstrom, Donald Cosentino, and Stanley Walens. I would also like to express special thanks to Diane Drake Wilson, Ann Walters, the eloquent Lucy O’Brien,...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-24

This project began in 1991 at a small, grotty underage club called Jabberjaw, off Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. I went to see Teenage Fanclub, a band from Glasgow, play one of its first West Coast dates. This club had only one entrance, located just behind the stage. To face the band, one needed to walk through the narrow corridor between the slightly raised stage and the coffee bar. On this particular spring evening, just like many nights at Jabberjaw, the place was packed to capacity. Equipped with neither air conditioning nor...

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1. What Is “Indie”?

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pp. 25-78

.This chapter examines the definition of “indie.” It describes the indie community, indie music, and indie’s ideological foundations. Defining a collective within a complex social system is not just an exercise designating one’s province of study; it also delineates how one conceives of cultural groups. However, attempts to characterize a category of music are fraught with difficulty. Defining a category like indie is not only problematic for scholars who seek to understand culture..

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2. The Zones of Participation

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pp. 79-121

When examining the specific practices of indie, we find a complex system that locates its members within a ritual structure. Since indie is not merely ideology, it needs to be examined in habitus: participation in the indie music scene is a process. Definitions focus on the boundaries between insiders and outsiders, making the heterogeneity of membership in a community less apparent. In the next three chapters, I discuss factors that produce and affect audience...

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3. Zone Three and the Music Industry

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pp. 122-153

In the previous chapter, I examined audience behaviors in zones one and two in terms of different modes of orientation in spectatorship. The interactions of those audience members are geared to the ongoing performance onstage, and both spectorial modes focus on an aesthetic experience of the musical performance. In zone three, however, there is a significant change in orientation away from the spectacle onstage; individuals are more concerned with fellow aud...

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4. The Participant Structure and the Metaphysics of Spectatorship

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pp. 154-186

In my previous chapters, I described the modes of participation at gigs of segments of indie audiences in ethnographic detail. Each of the gig zones has distinct modalities of comportment. Zone one spectatorship is embodied in active physical engagement and close proximity, and zone one is inhabited by the youngest and most demonstrative fans. Zone two spectatorship is characterized by a contemplative...

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5. Performance, Authenticity, and Emotion

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pp. 187-202

It may seem odd to start a chapter on musical performance with a quote about magicians, cinema, and the Wizard of Oz, but in order to understand the nature of musical performance, we must understand the concert as an event on a par with other artistic spectacles. As discussed in chapter 2, indie is a genre that values authenticity over artifice. In this chapter, I discuss verisimilitude, credibility, and authenticity—how credibility is conveyed in the indie genre, how indie posits emotional presence as the apogee of experience, and how the individual’s...

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6. Sex and the Ritual Practitioners

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pp. 203-241

This final chapter is devoted to indie’s ritual practitioners: the performers, the crew, the audience members who do not opt out of the community, those who seek intimate relations with performers, and the professionals who still look for meaning in music. These ritual practitioners fight against conversion to the values of their Protestant society. They devote their lives to the transitory rewards...

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Afterword: My Music Is Your Dirt

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pp. 242-250

Musical performances are ritual events—they invert, obviate, and reinforce our cultural values. Throughout this study, I have been untying the knots of the significance of the gig to reveal the wealth of constructed meaning that lies beneath the surface of this beautiful spectacle. This book is about how a group of people feel when they listen to a particular type of music and use their bodies to experience it. Bodies...

Appendix 1. NME’s Top 100 Albums of All Time

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pp. 251-254

Appendix 2. NME’s Top 50 Albums of the 1980s

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pp. 255-256

Appendix 3. Select Magazine Survey, 1994

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pp. 257-260

Notes

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pp. 261-288

References

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pp. 289-306

Index

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pp. 307-316

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Series Page, About the Author

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pp. 317-322

About the author: Wendy Fonarow is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has worked for music labels including...