Documenting a Punk Scene in Edmonton, Alberta 1979-1985: Place, Legitimacy and Belonging Articulated Through Mainstream and Independent Media

  • Author / Creator
    Messelink, Jennifer L
  • This thesis explores the emergence of a punk music scene in Edmonton, utilizing archival research, participant interviews and analysis of mainstream and independent media to determine how a genre that was arguably considered a British phenomenon came to have local characteristics and associations. I suggest that regardless of the size of Edmonton’s punk scene, its consideration raises important questions about ‘the local,’ and in doing so provides some sense of what Edmonton values as culture and community, how these values change over time, and the role of the media in determining all this. After theorizing music scenes in the context of the local, I explore the development of the punk music scene during the years 1979-1985 as articulated through participants and the mainstream media. Aspects of the local include the history of the settler colonization of Edmonton, where economic booms and busts were part of the natural cycle; Edmonton’s inclination to paradoxically draw upon the “frontier ethos” that emphasizes individualism, yet maintain a cultural dependency on external metropolitan centers such as London and New York; and class hierarchies and distinctions that were often communicated through discussion about music and cultural life. Strategies of scene building are explored including embodied notions of culture through global media messages, and fanzines as sites of youth initiated media. Finally, I examine local media discourses that conceal notions of civility, social responsibility, and social differences, in the process raising questions about the implicit moral authority of the media, moral panics and media stereotypes capable of shaping public perceptions about youth, and how all this impacted local musical activity.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Music
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Gramit, David (Department of Music)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Anselmi, William (Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Fauteux, Brian (Department of Music)
    • Gramit, David (Department of Music)