Document Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-2017

Capstone Advisor

Prof. Jennifer Flad

Honors Reader

Prof. Edwin Ackerman

Capstone Major

Sociology

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component

no

Keywords

Local Government, accessibility, poverty

Capstone Prize Winner

no

Won Capstone Funding

no

Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Civic and Community Engagement

Abstract

This qualitative study seeks to explore, analyze, and challenge the structure and participants in Syracuse local government. In 2015, a study done by Rutgers University professor, Paul Jargowsky, named Syracuse as the city with the poorest Black and Latino populations in the United States (Jargowsky 2015). This study has culminated into an in-depth examination of Syracuse local government and the accessibility of its representative democracy. This study utilizes qualitative methods: participant observation and in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore how groups of citizens engage with the local government through attending public meetings. Three primary themes include: the emergence of a political in-group, the lack of accessibility, and the creation of a political spectacle. All three weaken democracy through discouraging and keeping certain social groups and populations from actively engaging in Syracuse local government.

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