Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Affairs

First Advisor's Name

N. Emel Ganapati

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Sukumar Ganapati

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Milena I. Neshkova

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Matthew D. Marr

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


citizen participation, outlaw citizenship, music, arts, third places, power structures

Date of Defense



Artistic communities are under threat from rapid development creating both an affordability crisis and social tension from new residents who may be turned off by boisterous longstanding entertainment neighborhoods. Those in the fine arts could be forced out of their cities, and the cities’ beloved older third place arts venues could shutter. However, they face numerous barriers in trying to participate in local policymaking that could help them, and they are a largely disaffected population. Many are turning to non-traditional “outlaw citizenship” participation, such as protests and online organizing.

Given these communities’ and spaces major contributions to their local economies, culture and history, and overall quality of life, determining what stands in the way of their citizen participation and how those barriers could be broken is critical. I undertook a qualitative comparative case study in Austin and New Orleans, in which I did unstructured interviews, a focus group, participant observations, physical artifact examinations, and narrative mapping.

One of my key findings was that place was a critical component in either having participation that was conducive or non-constructive. The artistic communities’ casual, socially level third place venues were ideal places for officials and artists to meet, namely because the environments were less intimidating, and officials were able to get first-hand knowledge from the people that their policies affect. Conversely, government buildings or elegant spaces could be intimidating for historically underrepresented groups. Social media can help recruit participants, but the participation must move to offline, in-person participation (in traditional and non-traditional venues, alike) to be effective.

Findings from this dissertation may help government agencies and scholars who are not only working to engage artistic communities but also other disaffected populations. Given the tumultuous present-day social and political environment, this guidance is especially needed.



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