Esther Hernández-Medina

Hernández-Medina, EstherHernández-Medina, EstherEsther Hernández-Medina

M.A. in Sociology, Brown University

Contact Information: 
Brown University 
Department of Sociology 
Box 1916 
Providence, RI 02912
Fax: (401) 863-3213

Year of Entry: 2003

Previous Degrees: 
M.A. in Sociology, Brown University 2005 
Master in Public Policy, Harvard University 2003 
M.A. in Gender and Development, INTEC (Dominican Republic) 1995 
B.A. in Economics, INTEC (Dominican Republic) 1993

Areas of Interest: 
Democracy and Citizen Participation, Latin America and the Caribbean, Public Policy, Globalization, Feminism and Gender, Gender and Development, Social Movements, Global Cities in Latin America


Dissertation Title:
“Synergy, Mediation, or Exclusion? Citizen Participation in Mexico City's Urban Policy” 

Committee Members:
Patrick Heller (Chair), Hilary Silver, John Logan

I am interested in exploring answers to the following question "When and how are excluded groups able to successfully participate in the public arena?" My purpose is to better understand the conditions that help or prevent disadvantaged groups from transforming their proposals into public policies in developing countries. My main interest is in the interaction between the agency of social movements and innovative institutional mechanisms of democratic participation.

My M.A. thesis in Sociology analyzed the Participatory Budgeting process in the city of São Paulo, Brazil (2000-2004). I looked at how traditionally excluded groups (such as residents in poor neighborhoods, women, Afro-Brazilians, gay and lesbian groups, among others) utilized the Participatory Budgeting as a vehicle to influence policy-making processes in the city. This work received the “Alden Speare Jr. Memorial Award” for the most distinguished M.A. Thesis from the Sociology Department during academic year 2004/2005.

My dissertation builds upon this work by looking at citizen participation in urban policies in Mexico City. My analysis focuses on: (a) city wide processes of participation regarding urban development, including debates about land use and service provisioning, and (b) case studies of a low-income area and an upper-class area in each city that show high levels of contestation about these issues during the last decade. Both areas, Centro Histórico and Condesa, are located in the central part of the city and have undergone radical economic and spatial transformations in the last 10-15 years. Additionally, I have research experience working in governmental institutions such as the Presidency of the Dominican Republic and projects for international organizations like UNESCO, the World Bank, and the Secretariat for the Judicial Ibero-American Summit.

Finally, I have 15 years of teaching experience including my work as a teaching assistant at Brown University and Harvard University in courses about globalization, urban studies, organizational theory, statistics, and community organizing. I have also taught my own courses in Sociology and Gender and Development at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC) in the Dominican Republic. 


Peer reviewed articles and essays

Hernández-Medina, Esther. 2010. "Social Inclusion through Participation: The Case of the Participatory Budgeting in São Paulo" International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 34(3): 512-532 

Hernández-Medina, Esther. 2008. “A Tale of Two Cities: Mexico City, São Paulo, and the Chances for Citizen Participation in Latin America’s Mega-Cities” Essay selected in the international competition and workshop Urban Planet 2008: Collective Identities, Governance and Empowerment in Megacities organized by the Irmgard Coninx Foundation, the Social Science Research Center Berlin and the Humboldt-University, Berlin, 11-16 June 2008

Hernández-Medina, Esther. 2007. “Globalizing Participation: ‘Exporting’ the Participatory Budgeting Model from Brazil to the Dominican Republic” Berkeley Journal of Sociology 51: 69-118

Itzigsohn, José; Carlos Dore Cabral; Esther Hernández Medina; Obed Vásquez. 1999. “Mapping Dominican transnationalism: narrow and broad transnational practices”Ethnic and Racial Studies 22(2): 316-39, March 1999

Other academic publications

Dore Cabral, Carlos, Esther Hernández, Tahira Vargas, Leopoldo Artiles, Carlos Segura. 1999. “Diálogo entre las ciencias sociales y la política: El Caso de la DIAPE” Estudios Sociales Vol. XXXII, No. 117. Julio-Septiembre 1999

Hernández Medina, Esther. 1995. “La investigación-acción feminista y el movimiento de mujeres en la República Dominicana” Caribbean Studies 28(1): 128-46 Instituto de Estudios del Caribe

Hernández Medina, Esther. 1995. “Discriminación y violencia racial y de género: problemas de la seguridad personal y colectiva en el Caribe” in Globalización, Integración y Derechos Humanos en el Caribe Documentos 11 ILSA


Reviewer for Studies in International Comparative Development (SCID) and the International Journal on Urban and Regional Research (IJURR)