First Advisor

Gerald Sussman

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Music -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- Portland, Alternative rock music -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- Portland, Cultural landscapes -- Oregon -- Portland, Popular culture -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 142 p.) : col. ill., col. maps


Portland has a rich, active, and fluid music culture which is constantly being (re)created and (re)defined by a loose network of local musicians who write, record, produce, promote, distribute, and perform their music locally (and sometimes regionally, nationally, and internationally) and local residents, or audiences, who engage in local musical practices. Independent ("indie") local music making in Portland, which is embedded in DIY (do it yourself) values, creates alternative cultural places and landscapes in the city and is one medium through which some people represent themselves in the community. These residents not only perform, consume, promote, and distribute local music, they also (re)create places to host musical expressions. They have built alternative and democratic cultural landscapes, or culturescapes, in the city. Involved Portlanders strive to make live music performances accessible and affordable to all people, demonstrating through musical practices that the city is a shared space and represents a diversity of people, thoughts, values, and cultural preferences. Using theoretical tools from critical research about the economic, spatial, and social role of cultures in cities, particularly music, and ethnographic research of the Portland music scene, including participant observations and in-depth interviews with Portland musicians and other involved residents, this research takes a critical approach to examining ways in which manifestations of independent music are democratic cultural experiences that influence the city's cultural identity and are a medium through which a loosely defined group of Portlanders represent their cultural values and right to the city. In particular, it focuses on how local musical practices, especially live performances, (re)create alternative spaces within the city for musical expressions and influence the city's cultural landscapes, as well as differences between DIY independent music in Portland and its commodified forms and musicians and products produced by global music industry.


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Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning

Persistent Identifier