Racial Solidarity and Political Participation

Racial Solidarity and Political Participation Studies conducted in the 1960s and 1970s generally confirmed that racial group solidarity boosted rates of participation among African Americans. But since the 1980s, research has tended to conclude that the effect of solidarity on voter turnout among blacks and other minorities has moderated if not faded entirely. We hypothesize that part of this observed decline is explained by a dilution of measures of group solidarity in recent studies. We argue that a fair test of racial solidarity requires using a comprehensive measure that incorporates both psychological “identification” and the ideological beliefs that comprise “consciousness.” Moreover, we hypothesize that the effects of solidarity, will vary across forms of participation and be greatest on political activities that require group coordination. Our re-analysis of the 1984 NBES using separate measures of identification and consciousness indicates that the more narrowly circumscribed measures of these concepts used in recent studies are likely to have underestimated its influence on political participation. We show that racial identification and consciousness had a modest effect on voting turnout in 1984, but a significant influence on participation in several traditional campaign activities, petitioning government officials, and especially participation in protests and boycotts. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Racial Solidarity and Political Participation

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-005-5880-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Studies conducted in the 1960s and 1970s generally confirmed that racial group solidarity boosted rates of participation among African Americans. But since the 1980s, research has tended to conclude that the effect of solidarity on voter turnout among blacks and other minorities has moderated if not faded entirely. We hypothesize that part of this observed decline is explained by a dilution of measures of group solidarity in recent studies. We argue that a fair test of racial solidarity requires using a comprehensive measure that incorporates both psychological “identification” and the ideological beliefs that comprise “consciousness.” Moreover, we hypothesize that the effects of solidarity, will vary across forms of participation and be greatest on political activities that require group coordination. Our re-analysis of the 1984 NBES using separate measures of identification and consciousness indicates that the more narrowly circumscribed measures of these concepts used in recent studies are likely to have underestimated its influence on political participation. We show that racial identification and consciousness had a modest effect on voting turnout in 1984, but a significant influence on participation in several traditional campaign activities, petitioning government officials, and especially participation in protests and boycotts.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 25, 2005

References

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