Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

S. Elizabeth Bird, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dillon Mahoney, Ph.D.

Committee Member

EJ Ford, Ph.D.


Skateboarding, Phenomenology, Neoliberalism, Branding, Experience, Ethnography


Why do original/grassroots branding efforts occurring on a local level continue to proliferate despite the existing market saturation created by larger corporate entities? Using existing theoretical frameworks associated with “do it yourself” (DIY) culture, this thesis explores cultures and themes associated with skateboarding, including the production and consumption of brands of skateboarding products; the use of space and spatiality by skateboarders; and, finally, changes in skateboarding. I conducted ethnographic interviews within a network of skateboard entrepreneurs in the Florida skateboard community, seeking to understand why they start brands, their perceptions of their entrepreneurial efforts, and how these businesses operate. Drawing from historical, visual and interview data, I identify the roles that branding efforts play into the formation of skateboard culture. The project analysis creates an understanding of skateboard culture that explores skateboard identity at the intersections of consumer/citizen, individual/citizen and the politics of larger capitalist structures and the entrepreneurial efforts of local business.