Culture, Conflict and Community: Rituals of Protest
or Flairs of Competition
Working Paper #23, Fall 2002
Steven J. Tepper
This paper examines the incident of public conflict over artistic
and cultural expression in 48 U.S. cities. Analysis of more than
500 cases of conflict reveals that levels of public dispute are
related to several underlying structural characteristics of cities.
In particular, rapid demographic shifts, especially changes in
foreign-born residents, are related to higher levels of conflict.
The paper also suggests that there are at least three different
profiles of conflict—there are highly contentious cities,
where both liberal-based and conservative-based groups are actively
involved in protests; there are cities that experience cultural
conflict as identity politics (liberal-based groups are most active);
and those cities that practice cultural regulation (conservative-based
groups are most active).
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