First Advisor

Peter Collier

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Neighborhoods -- Oregon -- Portland, Orientation -- Oregon -- Portland, Portland (Or.) -- Race relations



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 116 pages)


This thesis examines the social relationships of different residents in a gentrifying neighborhood in Northeast Portland, Oregon. It examines theoretical tenants in the social identity tradition to understand social change in terms of the impact of neighborhood change on the day-to-day interactions of individuals in a gentrifying neighborhood by exploring the ways in which different members of that neighborhood define and describe the terms “neighborhood”, “neighbor”, and “neighborly behavior”.

Intergroup neighboring research posits two outcomes of neighborhood change on interactions between old and new neighbors, one of conflict, the other of cooperation. The conflict perspective proposes that, in situations where new, higher income, better educated, socially dominant group members move into a previously lower-income, racially-mixed neighborhood, communication between old and new neighbors is limited by group differences in values and priorities.

Conversely, research in cooperative intergroup neighboring in times of change demonstrates that the different members can, under certain conditions, collectively act to address adverse changes to their shared environment. Conditions promoting between-group cooperation in a changing environment include a history of neighborhood political activism, an atypical ideological attraction to diversity, and the ability to articulate common interests and goals.

The thesis examines the applicability of these two perspectives through a qualitative case study of "neighboring" relations in a portion of King Neighborhood. It specifically seeks to understand how residents' stated perceptions and observed outcomes can be related to issues in class-classism, race-racism, and length of residence in the neighborhood or if other factors such as reasons for choosing this neighborhood, prior and recent experiences, and one's ideological/cultural worldview supersede economic-racial concerns.

The study found that the ‘different residents’ viewed neighborhood, in general, and their neighborhood and neighbors, in particular, through a variety of filters. While ‘race’ was mentioned in describing past interactions, respondents focused more on the broad, albeit mundane, factors of everyday life such as friendliness, approachability, and speaking rather than specific racial-ethnic or economic-class differences. These results are consistent with intergroup neighboring cohesion research showing that class and race are not readily important when neighborhood is viewed as a place of comfort, self-expression, or desired relaxation.


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