First Advisor

Kathryn A. Farr

Term of Graduation

Winter 1998

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Ordinances, Municipal -- Oregon -- Portland, Prostitution -- Oregon -- Portland, Social problems -- Oregon -- Portland -- Public opinion



Physical Description

1 online resource (124 pages)


This study explored the process and the nature of the claims and claimsmaking activities in the most recent presentation of prostitution as a social problem calling for a specific response, the prostitution-free zone ordinance. Integrating the conceptual framework of Best's (1995) constructionist approach to social problems with Strauss and Corbin's (1990) grounded theory approach, this study examined 1) the role and influence of different claimsmakers and their claims in the passage and implementation of the prostitution-free zone ordinance, and 2) how three perspectives (social control, moral reform and radical feminism) are differentially reflected in claimsmakers' framing of prostitution, as well as their intentions for and expectations of the prostitution-free zone ordinance.

This study relied on two different types of data, written documents and personal interviews. Documents included local newspaper {The Oregonian) articles, neighborhood association documents and Portland City Council minutes. Documents were examined for the following information: 1) who are the claimsmakers; 2) what are their claims; 3) what do they propose for solutions to their claims; and, 4) in what forum is the claim being made. Three significant themes came out of the claimsmaking activities which surrounded the "prostitution problem": Prostitution, Women and Men; Prostitution, Pornography and Crime; and, Neighborhoods, Families and Prostitution Activity. City Council minutes indicated, however, that a specific typification of prostitution activity was presented at the City Council meeting.

The use of the constructionist framework was effective in providing a conceptual framework by which to organize and interpret the data. However, there was less clarity in the determination of the analytical perspectives. The moral reform and social control perspectives were strongly reflected in the claimsmaking activities, however, it was often difficult to distinguish between the two perspectives. In contrast, the radical feminist perspective was relatively absent from the claims and claimsmaking activities.


In Copyright. URI:

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Sociology Commons