Indie Music in Post-bomb Bali: Participant Practices, Scene Subjectivities

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[Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University
This dissertation focuses on music practices that have been largely uncharted in Balinese music studies. In the twelve years following the 2002 terrorist bombings, during which time an economic downturn and subsequent accelerated tourism development and urbanization transformed southern Bali, several rock bands rose to national and international acclaim and, alongside other music professionals committed to the creative, professional, and social vitality of local music making, built a thriving independent music scene. By 2014, Bali was home to some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful bands in the Indonesian recording industry's history--though industry accolades were often tangential achievements for many music producers. What did preoccupy them is key to understanding the scene's historic growth and staying power. Shared preoccupations with style and genre, creativity, professional ethics, activism, and belonging deepened social bonds by coalescing attention around core social, environmental, and musical issues. Based on six years of knowing Bali's indie music producers as research interlocutors, colleagues, and friends, this study examines scene practices including rehearsals, performances, album production, tours, music activism, and "hanging out" (nongkrong) as conduits by which core ideals were created and shared. Research methods, derived from anthropology and ethnomusicology, included participation in scene practices, recorded interviews, casual conversations, and attention to "material culture," including hard copy and digital albums, music videos, and band merchandise. By applying theories derived from sociological phenomenology and symbolic interactionism, this study argues that habitual, music-related activities, as social interaction, establish subjective preoccupations that, as they come to be mutually valued, strengthen social alliances, sustain otherwise untenable music professions, and influence broader social and environmental issues. In post-bomb Bali, music-related practices were strategies for defining social relationships and inspiring collective action to both make a music scene happen and safeguard an island's diverse artistic, societal, and natural ecology.
Thesis (Ph.D.) - Indiana University, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, 2015
Applied Ethnomusicology, Bali, Ethnomusicology, Music Industry, Phenomenology, Popular Music
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Doctoral Dissertation