Institutional Dynamics, Zines and the Origins of the 1990s Bay Area Punk Rock Explosion

Authors: Maximilian Buchholz*,
Topics: Economic Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Institutions, Networks, Zines, Punk Rock, San Francisco Bay Area,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Oakley, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Work on music in economic geography has focused on themes such as the industry’s role in regional development (Scott, 2000), its spatial organization (Maskell and Lorenzen, 2004), and technological change (Hracs, 2012). We know very little however, about how independent small-scale scenes become commercially successful ones. Based on archival research on zines, or small circulation independently produced magazines, I illustrate how the 1980s San Francisco Bay Area punk rock scene, considered ‘dead’ by many, was in fact a vibrant cultural community. Using institutional and network frameworks, I demonstrate how what was once an underground scene becomes a commercialized one, with bands like Green Day and Rancid becoming hugely popular. In doing so, I also attempt to move beyond viewing institutions as a black box and instead, shed light on the processes through which institutions are developed and the subsequent outcomes they generate.

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