Date of Submission

Spring 2022

Academic Program

Music; Gender and Sexuality Studies

Project Advisor 1

Whitney Slaten

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The New York DIY scene is situated in a long history of social, political, and musical movements across the nation. Coming from this tradition of “do it yourself” politics, this community has adapted over the years to combat the forces of gentrification and capitalism which constantly threaten DIY music scenes. Over the last two years, this community has faced one of the most unexpected challenges to the continuation of the scene; The COVID-19 pandemic. In this ethnographically inflected analysis of the New York City DIY scene, I will be looking at the ways in which this musical community has been affected by the pandemic and gentrification. Furthermore, through an ethnographic investigation of how DIY has persisted throughout the pandemic, I will be looking at what this might mean for the creation and continuation of this youth subculture. Theoretical and historical conceptualizations of gentrification are applied to these encounters to analyze the sonic qualities of gentrification, as well as what it means to people in the scene to be from New York. In applying a historical framework, this study also looks at the cyclical nature of youth reactionary politics, as well as consumer capitalism’s ability to co-opt aesthetics of youth counterculture. A transgender studies lens is also applied to DIY, as a way to understand how this community defines what DIY is, and locates the act of “doing” as the practice which counters the sounds of gentrification in the scene. Through this hybrid of ethnographic, theoretical and historical analysis, I aim to situate the New York DIY scene in traditions of DIY and punk aesthetics in order to think about what is possible for the future of this community in the face of adversity.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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