Theses Doctoral

A Battle of Worths: The politics of space, race, and recognition in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Valle, Melissa Mercedes

This project is a relational ethnography that explores valuation as a social process and its relationship to the production and reproduction of inequality in urban space. I connect the subjective valuation process with struggles over material resources and the politics of recognition. With each chapter of this dissertation I demonstrate that race and ethnicity are encoded in the value of urban spaces through analyses of various micro-level meaning-making practices and structures that constitute cultural processes relevant to valuation. In addition to participant observation, I incorporate semi-structured photo-elicitation interviews, unstructured interviews, a semiotic analysis and analyses of existing literature to historicize the project. My overall epistemological objective is to marry a political and material focus on worth with a study of the mechanisms through which culture enters into valuation processes and, consequently, inequality.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Valle_columbia_0054D_13495.pdf Valle_columbia_0054D_13495.pdf application/pdf 5.67 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Khan, Shamus
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 9, 2016