Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 76 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Walter Little


DeKalb, IL, Do-It Yourself, Ethnography, Punk Music, Punk culture, Punk rock music, Communities

Subject Categories

Social and Cultural Anthropology


To many people, music is just a hobby, something they listen to on the drive to work or background noise throughout their day. Maybe they will go to an occasional concert or buy a record here or there, or more likely download one off iTunes. To some though, it can mean so much more. To some people, music can be the whole basis of their social lives. Here I will show how the music scene in DeKalb, Illinois has created strong bonds, enough to be termed a community. Helped through punk ethics and a DIY(do-it yourself) mindset, the DeKalb punk scene has brought together musicians, poets, artists, fans, and others involved through zines and record labels into one community. Through the words of those directly involved in the scene, I show how they view DeKalb's punk scene as a community. The scene has become a welcoming space, where everyone's projects are supported, leading to a variety of experimentation. One of the interesting elements of DeKalb's scene in relation to other punk scenes is the older age of the participants. Traditionally seen as music for teenagers, as DeKalb is a college town the main participants are in their 20s, though older members are not rare; indeed, some are even in their 40s with families and kids. An important part of creating this scene is DIY philosophy, and I examine the role that has in creating a community. Additionally, spaces for music are equally important, as I illustrate how these spaces are essential in the music scene. Finally, as DeKalb is college town with a rotating population, I investigate what the future holds for everyone involved and the town's punk scene.