First Advisor

Lee J. Haggerty

Term of Graduation

Summer 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Land use -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area -- Planning -- Citizen participation, Portland (Or.) -- Newspapers, Newspapers -- Ownership, Land use -- Planning -- Citizen participation



Physical Description

1 online resource (87 pages)


The process and consequences of global economic expansion are the subject of increasing scholarly and popular attention. Emerging patterns of globalization are of particular interest from a sociological standpoint. This study establishes a theoretical and methodological approach for examining, within a framework of competing values, locally observable effects of the widely recognized global trend -- of increasingly concentrated news media ownership. Recent patterns of development in Portland, Oregon provide the specific context for this study. As in most American cities within the past generation, Portland experienced a shift from having independent, competing daily newspapers to having one conglomerate-owned monopolistic daily. While this was occurring, the city (and region) had emerged at the forefront of growing national concern about urban sprawl -by enacting policies (based in citizen participation) to fight sprawl (seen by theorists as part of the globalization process). The question, then, becomes "how is citizen resistance to an effect of capitalist-based economic expansion (urban sprawl) portrayed by society's central medium of discourse (newspapers) -- that are profitably linked to that expansion (through media monopoly)?" While newspapers are assumed to be "objective," I predict that content analysis of "citizen/urban growth" coverage will show patterns of bias that reflect an emerging global pattern of corporate dominance. The growth perspective of news story sources and the framing of citizen portrayal are central categories of this analysis. In particular, they provide a sensitizing scheme for testing my further prediction that news content will indicate a trend toward narrowing growth perspectives (e.g., greater exclusion of antigrowth positions) and portrayal of citizens as disempowered and nonunited. The content analysis findings provide a substantial level of support for the thesis that, values promoting corporate-based global expansion (gesellschaft) are increasingly outweighing non-economic values like local community relations and involvement (gemeinschaft). By applying new syntheses of perspectives on growth and community, as well as a framework for analyzing citizen portrayal in print media, this study adds to the effort to understand globally emerging social forces.


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