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This thesis is an ethnomusicological study of the ways in which music creates a sense of community at two North Carolina farmers markets: the Old Salem Cobblestone Farmers Market in Winston-Salem and the Watauga County Farmers Market in Boone. Farmers markets serve a variety of functions in their communities, providing a town square-like atmosphere in the form of a pleasurable weekly gathering that also encourages civic, social, and political engagement. While music is a prominent and clearly defined presence in both the social landscape and soundscape of Cobblestone and Watauga, even the most loyal patrons are unlikely to point to the weekly musical performances as a primary factor that motivates them to attend the market. Many refer to the music as "fun" or "festive," but not essential, choosing instead to focus on the importance of "supporting local" and "knowing where your food comes from," the communal pleasures of farmers market shopping, and the superior quality of the food. Using sociologist Randall Collins' theory of interaction ritual chains, I argue that in the cases of the Cobblestone and Watauga markets, music is an integral part of the farmers market experience, one that serves to create a sense of moral solidarity that inspires feelings of community among market patrons, affirming a powerful bond crystallized through shared feelings of moral right and belonging that motivate participants to return to the farmers market again and again for reasons that extend well beyond the simple provision of fruits and vegetables.
community, ethnomusicology, farmers market, interaction ritual chains, local food movement, music
Date of Defense
April 6, 2015.
A Thesis submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music.
Includes bibliographical references.
Michael B. Bakan, Professor Directing Thesis; Frank Gunderson, Committee Member; William Butler, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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