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Eastern Academy of Management International 2019 Conference

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Democracy, Inclusion, and the “Right to the City” in Urban Street Bands

Meghan Kallman
UMASS Boston  |  United States

Keywords: Street Bands, HONK!, Inclusion, Decisionmaking, Prefiguration, Democracy, Organizational Processes

Abstract: This article explores how the political and social priorities of street bands are articulated within groups themselves through internal organizing and processes, and how these processes reflect groups’ connection to cities and their allegiance to ideas of inclusion. Using data from five New England street bands, I explore how their structural and organizational processes comprise a prefigurative commitment to social justice. Ultimately, I argue that the commitment to democracy, consensus, and shared leadership that many of these bands express—contested, imperfect, and necessarily incomplete as they are–is deeply bound to a political vision of cities and social relationships.


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