Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Popular Music and Culture


Dr. Keir Keightley


This thesis explores the role institutions play within the London, Ontario independent-music scene. Institutions are where indie-music scenes happen (Kruse 2003). They are crucial to indie community-building in scenes, and provide the spaces and opportunities for indie-music activities to publically take place. Local institutions engage with scenes by providing scaled-down versions of the so-called mainstream music industry. I refer to these as “indie-style economies.” However, institutions are also organizational structures which influence the social and power relations within scenes. In particular, hierarchical distinctions between scene members are found to be based on the consecration of what Sarah Thornton (1995) calls subcultural capital. This thesis uses London as a case study of indie-music scenes. Three institutions are considered: the live-music venue APK Live, the independent record store Grooves Records, and the campus and community radio station CHRW Radio Western. Research methods include participant observation, interviews, and an application of theoretical literature.