Searching for City Hall, Digital Democracy, and Public-Making Rhetoric: U.S. Municipal Websites and Citizen Engagement


  • Jacqueline Johnson Lambiase Texas Christian University



Citizen engagement, municipal communication, websites, audiences, public-making


U.S. cities rely on their websites to enhance citizen engagement, and digital government portals have been promoted for decades as gateways to participatory democracy. This study, through rhetorical and qualitative content analyses, focuses on 200 municipal homepages from 2017 and the ways they invite participation through public-making rhetoric. The findings reveal very few cities have: platforms for interactive discussions; representations of citizen activities; or ways to call citizens into being for the important work of shared governance.

Author Biography

Jacqueline Johnson Lambiase, Texas Christian University

Department Chair and Professor, TCU Department of Strategic Communication Bob Schieffer College of Communication


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Original Research