Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This is an ethnographic study of the drumline of the LSU Marching Band and the mock-fraternity they created called Phi Boota roota (ΦBr). I argue that ΦBr was created as a site to flesh out the various tensions members experience as members of the LSU drumline; they create a rite of passage ritual that functions as a carnivalesque and celebratory inversion of the system they find themselves submerged within. Phi Boota roota marks a created articulation of the transition members make when they become part of the larger ritual of Tigerband; it is a voluntary or liminoid ritual that allows members to deal with the excess parts of their own personalities and individuality while fully embracing, though at times parodying, their inherited identity and image as members of the LSU Band. Through the use of performative writings combined with more traditional ethnographic field reports and descriptions/interpretations, this thesis strives to give voice to the tensions felt within the rituals of Tigerband and ΦBr, the tension of representation within ethnographic study, and the tension of creative experimentation within academic writing. Throughout the study, I use the metaphor of "audiation" to experiment with representing ethnographic experience and knowledge. Audiation is the practice of thinking and comprehending music with your mind, and it functions as a pedagogical tool for creating and remembering sound. Metaphorically, audiation illustrates an action that requires both memory and creativity; a process that gives sound/motion to a sounding/action by re-creating it in the mind. These audiations provide a forum for both the traditional and the inventive to resonate within the context of an ethnographic exploration of the performance of ΦBr.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Michael S. Bowman



Included in

Communication Commons