Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John Ackerman

Second Advisor

David Boromisza-Habashi

Third Advisor

Kenneth Foote


This thesis presents an urban ecology as a semi-bounded and permeable way of conceptualizing cities that encompasses the symbolic, material, and embodied while embracing vibrancy and affectiveness. By taking a communicative approach, and drawing on theories of publics and counter-publics, culture, sound, place, and the everyday, I argue that it is imperative that we understand the interplay between human and non-human agents. Using Seattle hip hop as a case study to demonstrate a sonic urban ecology, this project also forwards that sound is woven throughout urban ecologies as a tie that binds them together, holding fast in its many forms. It is not simply music, but the intrinsic rhythms, resonances, and intensities of sound that enable it to act as a uniting force amongst the human and nonhuman.