Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




P. White




This thesis uses barroom activities to explore the social production of space and identity. The study centres on the inception of a blues music bar in Oshawa, Ontario. The purpose of the research is to approach a better understanding of the various ideas, meanings, contentions, and strategies involved with the creation of a blues music idioculture. Particular emphasis is placed on the micro level practices of identifying and reworking blues music traditions. Recognizing the variability of definitions of blues tradition, participants in this study, through their everyday interactions, negotiate a working consensus that affirms their tastes and interests. The traditional ideal of "authenticity" is appropriated into an ideological style of representation. As a constructed style, authenticity empowers patrons with a social and cultural power over meanings. By and large, individuals conferred with an "insider" status have a greater stake in the creation of barroom meanings and activities. To become an insider, fans and musicians endure a series of stages and rituals meant to assess their loyalty to others. Insiders manage an impression of themselves as committed to the bar's semantic code of representational authenticity. Thus, this thesis uses the dramaturgy of barroom interactions to illustrate processes of subcultural creation and modification. Through their everyday negotiations, fans and musicians construct an articulative practice that encapsulates local identities and perspectives.

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