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Theses and Dissertations

Name:Laurel Dillon-Sumner
Professor:Kevin A. Yelvington

Cultivating Change: Negotiating Development and Public Policy in Southern California’s Wine Country


In the Temecula Valley, California, neoliberal development policies were implemented that had the potential to bring drastic changes to this semi-rural area, renowned for its wine production and idyllic setting as a wine tourism destination. In order to better understand the contested nature of these development plans, I conducted ethnographic and key informant interviews and public policy analysis research with policy-making officials, local residents and other stakeholding groups that formed in opposition to the planned expansion. This applied anthropology of policy was uniquely situated to explore the tensions between various stakeholders. This thesis serves to propose interventions that could have the intended impacts of the expansion plan, which included increasing tourism and bolstering the economy, while preserving the qualities that made the Temecula Valley marketable and consumable as a wine tourism destination. Bringing together diverse fields of study including economics, tourism and environmental anthropology, this thesis sheds light on policy making processes in the 21st century United States.