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While the latter largely failed as a means to obtain electoral influence, a shift in tactics enabled charter leaders to keep pro-union Democrats from dominating the charter policy debate. While demand for seats increased, so did the tension as activists and elected officials expressed concern over loss of traditional public-school spaces which doubled as community-based institutions, and encroachment on their long-held view of self-deterministic education policy. Much of the pushback by the community may also be a proxy for the effects of rapid gentrification occurring in the neighborhood, exacerbating tensions over external influence in local communities and a disruption of social capital.

Finally, I show that through the loss of political allies at City Hall, in the State legislature, and a reduction in the political theater around parent mobilization, the charter sector locally and nationally may experience slowed growth in terms of charter authorization, public support and applications by potential students.

Columbia University Libraries. Academic Commons. Subjects Education and state School management and organization Political science Public policy Law Charter schools Educational change--Political aspects. Since some ethnic minorities consist of large immigrant populations, I also address the importance of immigrant-specific experiences, such as socialization in origin countries and citizenship acquisition in adopted homelands. Finally, I discuss how and why ethnicity matters in shaping party preferences among minority members. The chapter concludes with a discussion of methodological challenges in studying ethnic minorities and suggests several avenues for future research.

Ethnicity is commonly defined as a set of descent-based individual characteristics that are either difficult or impossible to change, such as skin color, nationality, or primary language Chandra, , ; Birnir, Note that this definition refers to skin color—often seen as a key characteristic of race in Western democracies—as one of the distinguishing features among ethnic groups. This theory stipulates that any group is defined in relation to other groups.

In addition, the basic human need to assign order and meaning to the social environment encourages people to differentiate themselves into social groups even in situations where no real differences between groups exist e. Once established, social categorization and perception of oneself as belonging to a certain group leads people to adopt the kind of behavior that favors in-group members and discriminates against out-group members. Ethnicity and race are not the only sources of social differentiation, and their importance may vary across individuals and over time e.

People rely on ethnicity in making political decisions to enhance their cognitive efficiency. Since most individuals are unable to access and process all relevant information, they seek information shortcuts, or heuristics, to infer how choices they make relate to their self-interest. Early research revealed strong perceptions of linked fate among African Americans in the United States Dawson, These perceptions were seen as responsible for why African Americans remain highly homogeneous in supporting the Democratic Party despite a growing socioeconomic diversity within the group.

Subsequent studies revealed, however, that these findings do not always extend to other ethnic and racial minorities in the United States, such as Asian Americans or Latinos. Attachment among members of these groups has been considerably weaker and more malleable than among African Americans.

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To understand these differences, Chong and Kim argued that experiences of discrimination and perceptions of equal opportunities in a society are central to explaining the extent to which socioeconomic status weakens support for group interests among ethnic minorities. Those who belong to groups with frequent experiences of discrimination and perceive lack of equal opportunity in their country—such as African Americans in the United States—improved individual socioeconomic status does not undermine the salience of ethnic considerations in shaping their political decisions. In contrast, for minorities whose members feel less or not at all discriminated against, such as Asian Americans or Latinos in the United States, higher socioeconomic status leads to less emphasis on ethnicity in forming their political attitudes.

Thus, minority group members who think that social mobility can be achieved as a consequence of hard work, education, and other individual investments are less likely to focus on supporting and advancing collective group interests. However, if opportunities are perceived to be limited and group affiliations are seen as responsible for restricting social mobility, individuals belonging to minorities are more likely to work together with their group members to improve their status within society.

Research from other countries confirms that discrimination experiences matter in shaping political choices of ethnic minority members. For example, those who believe their ethnic group members are being discriminated against in a country are more likely to support political parties that have traditionally defended and promoted minority interests, such as the Labour Party in the United Kingdom Sanders et al.

Moreover, this relationship is especially strong among ethnic minority voters who have made efforts to integrate into the mainstream society in their country of residence. This is because while the former encourages ethnic minority members to vote for a pro-minority party, the latter appears to have the opposite effect: specifically, personal experiences of discrimination motivate ethnic minorities to punish governing parties at the time of elections, even when incumbent governments include a pro-minority party Sanders et al.

Hence, to the extent that governments fail to protect individuals from personal discrimination, minority members are prepared to vote them out of office. Another part of the story has to do with the ability of groups to shame individuals who have defected from their group norms of political behavior to pursue their individual interests.

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Using experiments that explicitly considered situations involving trade-offs between co-ethnic group interest and self-interest among African Americans in the United States, White and colleagues found that defections from group-oriented behavior are not uncommon, but that these defections are less likely in the presence of social monitoring and expectations of sanctions from the group.

Moreover, where group norms are clearly defined and intensely felt—as is the case for African Americans in their support for the Democratic Party—the reputational costs of pursuing self-interest at the expense of the group goals becomes particularly high. As a consequence, individuals are more likely to resolve trade-offs between group and personal interests in favor of the group.

Whether these findings extend to other countries with different combinations of ethnic minorities, political histories, and more fragmented party systems is a question that should be explored in future research.

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While support for ethnic group interests varies as a consequence of perceptions of the factors discussed above, another central question is to what extent ethnicity is related to various forms of political behavior. Do ethnic minorities participate in politics more or less than majorities?

Do they engage in the same types of political activities, and, if not, what explains these differences? I start with voting turnout as the most common form of political activity that shapes the composition of democratic governments. However, there are considerable differences among countries. For example, in the Netherlands there is almost a 19 percentage point gap in turnout between the majority population and ethnic minorities composed largely of Muslims and recent immigrants. This voting gap is common across most of Europe, when the minorities are mostly foreign-born individuals such as in Denmark and Sweden , or when ethnic groups are marked by deep cultural and religious differences such as in Israel and the Netherlands.

At the same time, the pattern is reversed in several newer democracies. For example, in Poland and Lithuania where ethnic Russians or Ukrainians constitute long-standing ethnic groups, minorities vote 9 percentage points higher than majority populations. These results are largely consistent with early research showing that Blacks in the United States voted at significantly lower levels than their White counterparts. One key explanation of this difference in America focused on economic inequalities between the two groups: since Blacks generally have lower socioeconomic status, they are less endowed with individual resources such as money, time, and skills that facilitate political participation.

This led researchers to focus on group resources—psychological and organizational—to explain how groups may compensate for the negative effects of low socioeconomic status of their group members on their political participation. Moreover, the results with respect to group consciousness did not always generalize to other minorities, such as Asian Americans or Latinos in the United States e.

One explanation of this difference is that most Asian Americans and Latinos identify themselves primarily by their country of origin e. Moreover, group consciousness appears to be particularly important in motivating political action that is directly tied to the group, such as working for or contributing money to a co-ethnic candidate and attending a demonstration or meeting based on ethnic minority issues.


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Beyond group consciousness, organizational resources available to ethnic minorities also matter. Participation in voluntary associations can enhance political participation of their members by developing civic skills that facilitate political activity as well as by directly mobilizing individuals. In line with this perspective, Tate found that African Americans who belonged to a Black political organization or a politically active Black church were more likely to vote in the U.

One type of organizations that has played a particularly important role in mobilizing political activism among African Americans in the U. Religious institutions can facilitate political action by creating motivations for their members to become politically involved, contributing to group consciousness, as well as by providing resources that enable the connection between motivations and political action.

However, attendance of religious services does not automatically translate into high levels of political activity: only individuals exposed to political messages in churches were found to be more politically engaged Calhoun-Brown, Involvement of many Black churches in the Civil Rights movement meant that African Americans attending religious services were more frequently exposed to political messages and requests to participate in politics than Latinos. Moreover, being predominantly Protestant—religion with congregations that tend to be small in size, allow for greater lay participation in the liturgy, and are organized on a nonhierarchical basis—African Americans are said to have more opportunities to develop civic skills that enable political participation than Latinos affiliated with Catholic churches Verba et al.

Cross-national studies confirm that members of ethnic minorities generally participate in politics less than majority populations, as we saw in Figure 1 e. Individual and group resources account for the difference in voting turnout between ethnic minorities and majorities in Canada, but to a lesser extent in the United Kingdom. In France, low voting turnout among non-European-origin ethnic groups has been attributed to their residence in socioeconomically disadvantaged urban areas. At the same time, although South Asian voters in the United Kingdom are more likely to live in areas of economic deprivation, they are more likely to turn out to vote than other groups.

Moreover, membership in voluntary associations has a positive effect on local political participation among Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese, and Antillean immigrants in the Netherlands, while the results from Denmark and Belgium are less consistent across different ethnic groups. While voluntary associations encourage non-electoral political activities among immigrants, associations based on ethnic origin do not.

This is because ethnic associations help their members to develop civic skills that enable political participation, but they provide fewer opportunities for political mobilization through networks of political recruitment for their members. Additional explanations of political participation among ethnic minorities focus on political context, most notably minority political empowerment. They found that Blacks living in areas governed by a Black mayor participated in politics more than either Blacks living in other areas or their White counterparts in the same areas.

They argued that political empowerment encourages Blacks to become more politically knowledgeable and develop more positive attitudes toward government and politics—qualities that in turn lead to higher levels of political participation. Subsequent research has shown that descriptive representation that is, minority electoral candidates and representatives in public office indeed enhances political knowledge and political efficacy among ethnic and racial minorities. These effects are not limited to African Americans but extend to other minorities in the United States, as well as to minorities in other nations e.

However, the relationship between descriptive representation and voting turnout among minority members has received less empirical support.

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In the United States, a number of studies revealed limited evidence that Black candidates contributed positively to voter turnout among African Americans in presidential elections e. The results are mixed with respect to the consequences of co-ethnic candidates on minority electoral participation in other countries as well.

One way to explain these mixed findings is by considering the effects of ideology on the relationship between descriptive minority representation and minority political participation. Since ethnic groups are not monolithic in their political orientations, Griffin and Keane argued that this attitudinal heterogeneity can influence the effects of descriptive representation on minority voting turnout. They showed that even African Americans—a group assumed to be particularly cohesive in their political attitudes—do not respond to the presence of a Black member of Congress in their district in the same way.

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Since most Black members of Congress are liberal or are perceived as liberal McDermott, , only African Americans who are liberal tend to turn out to vote at higher rates when represented by a Black member of Congress. Other studies adopt even more skeptical views about the capacity of descriptive representation to boost voting turnout among ethnic or racial minorities.

This research suggests that it is not the presence of minority candidates but rather the size of minority populations in a district that is responsible for both—higher numbers of minority candidates and higher levels of minority voting turnout.