Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Voices for the Land: Women Ranchers' Sense of Place and Role in Passing on Knowledge, Values, and Wisdom
by Caniglia, Noel Cox, Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2011, 330; 3472534
Abstract (Summary)

This study describes and analyzes the perspectives and attitudes of land-based elder women, specifically cattle ranchers, from desert bioregions in the Southwestern United States of America. The ranchers' sense of place and role as informal ecojustice educators were described in rich narrative and these data were analyzed.

Exploratory ethnographic inquiry and feminist research methods undergirded all aspects of the study. Although the primary methods used were those of survey and in-depth interview, data was also gathered from historical documents, photographs, video interviews, and personal monographs written by the participants. The women participants were 69 through 88 years of age, had lived and worked on cattle ranches for at least 25 years, and were identified via a word-of-mouth screening for the initial survey participant pool as representative of ranching women. This method of selecting the survey participants ensured that the women were recognized as leaders within the ranching communities. By privileging the stories of these women, the study ensured that the women's largely unheard perspectives were given voice; the rhizovocality of their narratives reaffirmed their complex and varied ways of knowing. This emic study exposed the participant ranchers' deep sense of place and the role they played as ecojustice educators when passing down local, expert knowledge; cultural values; and practical pathways to wisdom to subsequent generations. The discovery of the ranchers' ecocentric perspectives was a significant finding within the research.

The ranchers' diverse array of narratives and ways of knowing germinated as a result of their intimate knowledge of and experience with the more than human natural environment, which they termed as Nature. The ranchers' stories revealed a lifestyle that modeled sustainability within an agrarian milieu and could arguably serve as examples of sustainability to others.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McAndrews, Robert
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Womens studies, Sustainability
Keywords: Cattle ranchers, Ecocentrism, Women ranchers
Publication Number: 3472534
ISBN: 9781124859286
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