Sociology ETDs

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This dissertation incorporates three distinct bodies of scholarship to bridge theories on: 1) the social construction of community and neighborhood, 2) the social construction of race, and 3) the social construction of gender. In doing so, I identify similarities in these theories by focusing on the symbolic and interactional dimensions. I draw from this theoretical framework to address the research question: for a middle-class neighborhood with a relatively even mix of both whites and Latinos, what are the patterns of neighborhood experiences in terms of race and gender? I develop the multidimensional analytic concept of neighborhood experiences to include neighboring, emotional connections, and neighborhood activities. I draw from qualitative data collected from an Albuquerque, New Mexico neighborhood that I refer to as Las Flores. In particular, I conducted in-depth interviews with neighborhood residents and field notes from neighborhood activities and argue that neighborhood and race are co-constructed and neighborhood and gender are co-constructed. Co-construction refers to how neighborhood is given meaning via race and how race is given meaning via neighborhood. Similarly, gender is given meaning via neighborhood and neighborhood is given meaning via gender. This dissertation presents three main results chapters. First, I explore neighboring interactions and the symbolic meaning given to neighbors, specifically highlighting the concept of friendly distance. Second, I examine emotional connections to the neighborhood and the co-construction of neighborhood and race with results on racial differences in residents' descriptions of sense of belonging, neighborhood history, and neighborhood attachment. Third, I address neighborhood activities and gendered expectations within the neighborhood highlighting how women experienced the neighborhood as mothers and linking these results to the systemic model of community. Taken as a whole, the results point to the significance of examining the co-construction of race and neighborhoods and the co-construction of gender and neighborhoods to better understand neighborhood dynamics in a contemporary, middle-class Albuquerque neighborhood. This dissertation concludes with a discussion of insights, implications, and suggestions for future research.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Lyons, Christopher

Second Committee Member

Erickson Nepstad, Sharon

Third Committee Member

Sanchez, Gabriel


Neighborhood; Race; Gender; Qualitative Methods; Community



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