Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Elizabeth Bird, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan Greenbaum, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Antoinette Jackson, Ph.D.


urban, community, development, identity, public-policy, economics, symbolic-capital, ideology, participatory, praxis


Stimulated by the economic theories of Richard Florida (2005), the City of Tampa established the Office of Creative Industries (OCI) to oversee efforts to strengthen the presence and visibility of "the arts." This thesis presents ethnographic research focused on practices, and perspectives among members of the OCI's service population. From July 2006 to July 2007, I conducted fieldwork among a diverse group of stakeholders possessing a unique connection to the aims of the OCI. The central problem addressed in this research looks at the degree to which cultural change occurs from participatory, grass-roots initiatives, rather than ones emanating from "the top" based on the economic concerns derived from largely quantitative approaches. The experiences and perspectives presented in this thesis provide a rich qualitative picture of cultural production in Tampa. While exploratory in nature, this research reveals some key considerations for city governments concerning cultural policy. This thesis concludes with discussion of theoretical and methodological implications of findings and calls for practice oriented approaches within urban development settings.