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Sociology & Anthropology Senior Research Symposium 2022

Poster Session

Ainsley Kyllingstad



The Music That Made A Movement: A Jam Band’s Journey to Social Warriorism

The Grateful Dead united thousands of people, decades ago and it is the unforgettable sound and the timelessness of their music that has strengthened the bond between fans, transforming strangers into friends and with time, friends into family. The music is the foundation for what I am calling a pseudo-movement organization. I argue that the Grateful Dead/ Dead & Co., in conjunction with their expansive fanbase, are their own, unofficial social movement organization that lend themselves to a multitude of causes. It is by looking at these offspring activism groups that draw their inspiration from the Grateful Dead and Dead & Company, that one could frame this community as a social movement organization differentiating them from other bands with a ‘cult following’. In the words of one of my interviewees, Delilah, “I’ve always known them to have an opinion and to take a stand. They just always encouraged involvement, political awareness and social responsibility.”