The South Valley is a rural community within the urban boundaries of the City of

Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is predominantly populated by minorities from diverse ethnicities and linked to the City of Albuquerque through limited access thoroughfares. The South Valley, composed of inhabitants who have lived in the area for generations, also includes returnees or those who are new to the valley. On any given day, within these neighborhoods, economic and social problems manifest themselves on the streets and threaten to deteriorate the seams of the community. Nevertheless, given the prevalent socio-economic challenges, South Valley residents appear to demonstrate the tenacity and creativity to adapt to challenges and develop a sense of empowerment concerning social disintegration. The creative use of space has simultaneously defined and defended the South Valley from those who wish to label it as a ghetto. This Master’s thesis explores narrative representations of abandoned storefronts and homes, discarded furniture, descansos (roadside memorials), and homeless residents to offer a cultural analysis of South Valley poetics and narrative that transcends the language of loss and decline.



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Level of Degree


Department Name

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First Advisor

Dr. Irene Vasquez

First Committee Member

Dr. Irene Vasquez

Second Committee Member

Dr. Nancy Lopez

Third Committee Member

Professor Miguel Gandert

Fourth Committee Member

Professor Levi Romero


South Valley, Enduring Querencias, Oral Histories