Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Felicia D. Roberts

Committee Chair

Felicia D. Roberts

Committee Member 1

Joshua E. Boyd

Committee Member 2

Thomas J. Rickert

Committee Member 3

Joshua M. Scacco


The politics of town meetings proposes that town hall meetings are institutions of representative democracy that present an opportunity for constituents to hold their elected representatives accountable in a public setting. Constituent relations-in-interaction glosses a complex set of interactional practices and procedures through which ensembles of participants bring town hall meetings, as structures of social interaction, into being. This study uses conversation analysis, the study of talk-in-interaction, to show that the politics of town hall meetings orients to three types of accountability: Interactional accountability, political accountability, and public accountability. The articulation of these accountability types provides a sense of overall-structural organization to the structure and activities giving shape to town hall meetings.