Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Mass Communications

First Advisor

Sosale, Sujatha

First Committee Member

Durham, Gigi

Second Committee Member

Polumbaum, Judy

Third Committee Member

Carrillo-Rowe, Aimee

Fourth Committee Member

Valerio-Jimenez, Omar


This study examined the role mass media play in animating the relationship between globalization and the nation-state. This study interrogated this relationship using a multi-method approach that analyzed news coverage, the general "media climate" in Oklahoma, and audience responses to the media climate regarding the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed into law in 2007.

The key goals of this study were to examine the ways in which news media in Oklahoma cover the issue of immigration, particularly as it relates to the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, in order to garner a deeper understanding of the ways in which the mass media participate in global processes while cementing the national imagined community. Moreover, by examining audience interpretations of news coverage from mainstream and diasporic news outlets regarding this legislation, this study provided insight into the ways messages about the immigrant family and its contingent gender roles circulate and incorporate into day-to-day culture and how, in turn, these cultural meanings are put into the service of the nation-state.

This study used a multi-method approach comprising of a textual analysis of the bill itself and news coverage of the two largest English-language newspapers in the state. I also analyzed the text of a Spanish-language paper based in Tulsa and conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with various state legislators, journalists, community members, and staff members at and clients of the Latino Community Development Agency in Oklahoma City.

In my analysis of the text of the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, or, as it is commonly referred to, HB 1804, I argue that the bill established the ideological parameters of the immigration reform debate in the state. The text of the bill also reifies the nation-state, produces a subaltern immigrant community without recourse to the legal system, and provides a template of the ideal U.S. citizen through its representation of the deviant immigrant. My textual analysis of the two largest English-language newspapers in Oklahoma posits that these news discourses criminalize the immigrant, and gender, racialize, and class the immigrant worker, family unit, and its contingent members. As a result, the news coverage can be seen to highlight the ways in which 1804 is an attempt at resistance to global intrusions in Oklahoma and to offer assurance to the citizen community that cultural turmoil will be calmed. The figures of the bill's main author and the Catholic Church also symbolize the tension between the nation-state and the global in these news discourses. Finally, I argue that the Spanish-language media and the LCDA serve to unify the Latino community in Oklahoma in the context of immigration reform discourses, regardless of legal status, providing cultural sustenance and support when 1804 would deny this to the immigrant community.


gender, globalization, immigration, nation, Oklahoma, race


x, 144 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 136-144).


Copyright 2010 MaryAnn Elizabeth Martin