Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2011


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Anthropology, Under the Supervision of Professor Martha McCollough. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011
Copyright 2011 Ryan Thomas


Drawing upon interviews with 15 local musicians, related literature, and personal experience, this thesis examines the interpersonal conflicts experienced by local music bands, and accompanying methods of reconciliation. Despite extensive variation between bands, I have identified common agitators and resolution mechanisms. Disagreements often occur due to differing aspirations of the band members, the type of structure governing decision making, competition among members, criticism during songwriting, monetary issues, workload, and the age of a group’s members. Common methods of reconciliation and conflict prevention include encouragement of open communication, the ability to selectively ignore unsolvable disagreements, and active group mediation. More drastic solutions to acrimony include the adoption of a hierarchical, leader-based political structure, the elimination of songwriting (becoming a cover band), and band fission or breakups.

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