Title page for ETD etd-04062006-121321

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Sheehan, Rebecca A
URN etd-04062006-121321
Title Between Representation and Practice: Contesting Public Space in New Orleans' Jackson Square
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dydia DeLyser Committee Chair
Craig Colten Committee Member
Helen Regis Committee Member
Miles Richardson Committee Member
Michael Bowman Dean's Representative
  • public space
  • representation
  • practice
  • order and disorder
Date of Defense 2006-04-03
Availability unrestricted
Recent geographic research on public space focuses largely on either the past or present. Using historical and ethnographic methods, I contribute to understanding public space over time from an everyday point of view, a variety of social scales. Further, departing from a generally political-protest focus that much geographic literature centers on, my study explores the multifaceted areas of the political, cultural, and economic in public space. Thus, I show that the need for public space expands beyond protest voices into other realms that form and inform identity. Through New Orleans’ Jackson Square, these prospects of public space demonstrate “a world of its own” that connects with and to other social worlds. Specifically, my research reveals ongoing and often mutually constitutive tensions between representation and practice, which various groups and classes employ in the meaning making of public space. In doing so, I engage with one of cultural geography’s current and important debates over the significance of and between representation and practice. I argue that approaches to creating cultural geographies must include examining both representation and practice together and on a continuum, where both are mutually constitutive of each other and thus to understanding the meanings of landscape and place.
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