Ideology and growth promotion

Jeffrey C. Bridger, Aaron J. Harp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Molotch's 'growth machine' hypothesis [Molotch H. (1976) The city as a growth machine: toward a political economy of place. American Journal of Sociology 82, 309-332] argues that under many circumstances, local growth constitutes a transfer of quality-of-life and wealth from the local general public to a certain segment of the local elite. In order to preclude a critical examination of the impacts of growth, this local elite must necessarily convince the general population that growth is in the locality's best interest. In this paper, we expand Molotch's framework to examine the dissemination of a pro-growth 'ideology' at the local level. This expansion is accomplished by explicitly utilizing the concept of ideological hegemony to analyze a local elite's efforts to 'sell' growth to the residents of a community. Three ideologists - property, progress and community - are seen as central to this hegemonic process. Case study data comprised of newspaper reports and editorials, as well as interviews with key informants are used to illustrate our elaboration of the 'growth machine' hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-277
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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