Faculty Spotlight

Academic paper looks at how cultural tools shape environmental resistance

March 25, 2015
A legend around the Kneeling Nun rock formation in New Mexico was one of the cultural elements tied to social activism.

A legend around the Kneeling Nun rock formation in New Mexico was one of the cultural elements that contributed to the social activism by former residents of Santa Rita, New Mexico.

Dr. Sheila Steinberg, professor of social sciences at Brandman University, is the co-author of  a peer-reviewed academic paper that examines how two communities resisted destruction of their environments, “Exploring spatial and cultural discourses in environmental justice movements: A study of two communities.” The paper appears this month in the Journal of Rural Studies.

Steinberg and Damayanti Bannerjee of the the University of Tennessee-Knoxviolle Department of Sociology examine how a sense of place, community and culture affect environmentally-based social movements.

Steinberg focused on people born in a town called Santa Rita, New Mexico, which had to be moved for the copper mine to expand. All the people born in the town’s hospital refer to themselves as being “born in space” because where the hospital once was is now “space.”  Bannerjee looked at Land Between the Rivers, Kentucky, a rural community displaced by the building of dams.

The full paper is available for free online until May 7.


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