Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This dissertation examines the careers of workers within the Indie rock industry in Chicago. Little is known about how workers transition from subculture participants to industry workers. Expanding upon research on workers in culture industries, I conducted twenty-six qualitative interviews with workers in the industry, asking open-ended questions about their careers and experiences to understand how they establish and maintain careers in an industry that relies on a particular subculture whose ethos considers financial success as suspect, and a risk to integrity. I show how workers' early interest in music goes beyond typical teenage fascination and becomes the focus of their lives. I examine the considerable sacrifices workers make in terms of time, income, and personal relationships, and how gender, class, and race structure and are structured by the industry. Finally, I conclude with suggestions for further research in the industry and the subculture that could lead to a richer and fuller understanding of the context within which this industry functions.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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