Theses Master's

Shifting power and Institutional Relationships: The role of stakeholders in shaping Cananea, Mexico

Montemayor Solano, Lucrecia

This study focuses on the shifting institutional relationships amongst stakeholders -local government, Grupo Mexico (a mining company), labor unions, and the community- in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. It provides insight into planning processes and governance structures by analyzing: (1) how have relationships amongst stakeholders shifted through time and how they currently work in the context of a single-industry economy; and (2) how these changes promote/hinder these relationships and create opportunities for community empowerment and participation. Through a historical analysis of shifting relationships two points of drastic change were found. First, in 1989 when the mine was privatized, and second, in 2007 when the Section 65 union went on a 30+ month strike. These moments created a power void in which new actors arose and new partnerships were created. Through in-depth interviews with local government actors, industry representatives, union members and key community members an assessment of their perceptions, their current plans, issues, and collaborative actions with regards to Cananea’s future were further analyzed. This demonstrated a wide array of understandings of ‘community participation’ as well as a variety of plans -not all in concert with each other- and efforts to accommodate Cananea’s future growth. This research stems from this understanding and proposes future collaborations where the wider community is actively involved and where other partnerships are furthered. Finally, this research inserts itself in a wider discussion advocating for a pivotal role of the state, where the local government initiates community participation mechanisms which augment accountability and foster community empowerment efforts currently undertaken by private institutions, promote economic diversity through collaborative mechanisms aided by the state government and in coordination with local industries, and establish reciprocal mechanisms of trust and growth amongst all stakeholders.

Geographic Areas


More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Sutton, Stacey Ann
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 13, 2013