Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Geography and Anthropology
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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Sheehan, Rebecca A., "Between representation and practice: contesting public space in New Orleans' Jackson Square" (2006). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 987.