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Access Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Albuquerque, New Mexico, similar to many cities in the western and southwestern United States, continues to build large scale business and housing developments. In response, communities most affected by urban sprawl challenge local government decisions to approve such developments, citing concerns for environmental, cultural, and economic well-being. My thesis explores one such community effort to protect land and water resources within the historic Atrisco land grant, located southwest of the city of Albuquerque. In particular, I examine an event that occurred May 28th, 2015 when a group of concerned women and children disrupted a Bernalillo County special zoning meeting where a five member board of county commissioners denied community appeals to reject approval of a 14,000 acre development called Santolina. I employ ethnographic methods of in-depth interviews, participant observation, and secondary data collection to provide a rich description of the Women’s Action as an act of resistance. I situate my ethnographic account within the scholarship of Ewick and Silbey (1995; 1998; 2003) who empirically derive a theory of everyday acts of resistance as momentary reversals of hierarchical power relations embedded in institutional space. My research offers insights into how communities both engage in and disrupt public participation processes.


First Advisor

Timothy Randhir

Second Advisor

Anita Milman

Third Advisor

Paul Barten

Fourth Advisor

Krista Harper

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.