Minority Political Engagement and Representation in the United States
- LAST MODIFIED: 31 August 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0128
- LAST MODIFIED: 31 August 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0128
One of the most important areas of study in the field of political behavior in the United States is that of political engagement (often referred to as “civic engagement” or “civic/political participation”). Political engagement relates to the ways people work to influence the political system and the degree to which they are incorporated into the political structure. In order to understand precisely how and why people choose to participate in the political system, scholars have found it necessary to examine many different influential factors, such as political attitudes, perceptions of political efficacy, the influence of various forms of representation, and elements that hinder or encourage seeking political office, among many others. Given the importance of this subfield of study in the context of American democracy, academics have devoted a great deal of attention, both theoretically and empirically, to this subject, particularly since the mid-20th century. The vast majority of the extant research concerning political engagement in the United States has centered on general understandings of the opinion and behavior of the broader American population; however, these studies have been heavily weighted in terms of the engagement of white American populations and have largely ignored the legal, social, and economic barriers that directly influence the structures and realities of racial minority political engagement. Increasingly, the discipline of political science is recognizing the necessity of examining political engagement among minority groups, especially since the civil rights movement’s efforts to place enough pressure on the political system to effect legal and political change. The increasing sociopolitical visibility of racial and ethnic minorities within the United States, in conjunction with increasing numbers of members of these groups in academic settings (many of whom also examine political behavior among minorities), has led to a burgeoning field of study concerning minority political engagement. The resulting subfield of minority political engagement in the United States has increased the breadth and depth of scholarship concerning political participation. Scholars have combined both conceptual and group-based approaches in order to elucidate the ways in which the four main racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States (African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and American Indians) work to engage the political system. In order to develop a full picture of past, current, and prospective political engagement within and among these groups, scholars have focused on a wide variety of topics, including the development of group consciousness, group mobilization, participation in electoral and nonelectoral political activity, and political representation. Other areas of theoretical importance in the study of minority political engagement include immigration, assimilation, political empowerment and incorporation, and intersectional identity (especially in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender.)
There are various texts that examine racial and ethnic minority groups in the American political system. Of particular importance, McClain and Stewart 2013, Garcia 2011, Wilkins and Stark 2010, Walton and Smith 2014, Chang 2002, and Shaw, et al. 2014 provide sociopolitical examinations of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and American Indians in the United States. Further, by way of these examinations, these texts illuminate how each group is uniquely situated within the nation with regard to political engagement and the reasons as to why there is variation among these groups with regard to engagement. In its third edition, Browning, et al. 2002 examines multiracial and multiethnic urban politics by way of case studies of specific cities to demonstrate more directly the ways in which minority groups work for political incorporation in city politics. Junn and Haynie 2008 provides a broad array of perspectives demonstrating how minority political engagement is evolving in the 21st century, particularly in the context of racial and ethnic minority immigration. A more extensive examination of minority immigrant political engagement can be found in Ramakrishnan 2006.
Browning, Rufus P., Dale Rogers Marshall, and David H. Tabb, eds. Racial Politics in American Cities. 3d ed. New York: Pearson, 2002.
This updated edited volume continues to provide invaluable evidence regarding minority political engagement in urban politics by examining inter- and intra-racial political relations in case studies of many cities across the United States. Emphasizes the importance of local-level analysis for minority political engagement.
Chang, Gordon, ed. Asian Americans and Politics: Perspectives, Experiences, Prospects. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002.
A rich edited volume that provides a wide variety of approaches to the increasing importance of Asian Americans in the American political system. Provides important theoretical frameworks, including Claire Jean Kim’s “Racial Triangulation,” and various perspectives on panethnic political engagement among Asian Americans.
Garcia, John A. Latino Politics in America: Community, Culture, and Interests. 2d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2011.
Emphasizes recognizing the importance of community and ethnic subgroup linkages when examining Latino political engagement. Balances the recognition of “Latino” as a panethnic categorization with in-depth historical and sociopolitical examinations of Latino subgroups, which all lead to important discussions of political orientations, engagement, and policy positions and challenges.
Junn, Jane, and Kerry L. Haynie, eds. New Race Politics in America: Understanding Minority and Immigrant Politics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Important edited volume for understanding the dynamic nature of multiracial and multiethnic politics. Chapters examine the continuing evolution of minority political engagement and quest for inclusion in the context of the move away from the black-white dichotomy with changing US demographics.
McClain, Paula D., and Joseph Stewart Jr. “Can We All Get Along?”: Racial and Ethnic Minorities in American Politics. 6th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2013.
Provides a broad and extensive overview of the four main racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States (African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and American Indians). Examines demographics, opinion, political orientations, and engagement. Additional focus is on interminority group relations.
Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick. Democracy in Immigrant America: Changing Demographics and Political Participation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.
Addresses the gap in scholarship on immigrant racial and ethnic minority political participation. Examines both traditional and immigrant-centered models of electoral and nonelectoral political engagement with a wide variety of data sources. Provides suggestions for future study of immigrant political behavior with regard to both policy and research.
Shaw, Todd, Louis DeSipio, Dianne Pinderhughes, and Toni-Michelle C. Travis. Uneven Roads: An Introduction to U.S. Racial and Ethnic Politics. Los Angeles: CQ, 2014.
Comprehensive examination of the main racial and ethnic minority groups in the context of how they are intricately woven into the complicated web of the US political system. Provides extensive political history of each group and a thorough examination of important current social and political issues.
Walton, Hanes, Jr., and Robert C. Smith. American Politics and the African American Quest for Universal Freedom. 7th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2014.
Under the framework of the denial of the promise of and core value of freedom in the United States, this work examines the political engagement of African Americans in American politics across all facets of the political arena. Structure mirrors that of American government textbooks and is framed around political behavior and institutions.
Wilkins, David E., and Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark. American Indian Politics and the American Political System. 3d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010.
Essential reading on the relationship between American Indians and US politics. Frames the examination with the recognition of American Indians as nations, not minorities. Provides in-depth historical and political examination of US federal policy and American Indians as political actors. In-depth examination of American Indian political ideologies, orientations, and activism.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest.
- Advanced Democracies, Electoral System Reform in
- Advanced Democracies, Public Opinion and Public Policy in
- Advertising and Election Campaigns in the United States
- Africa, Comparative Politics of
- American Indian Politics
- Arab-Israel Conflict, The
- Arendt, Hannah
- Aristotle's Political Thought
- Australia and New Zealand, Comparative Politics of
- Authoritarianism in Russia
- Bicameralism in Stable Democracies
- Biopolitics and State Regulation of Human Life
- Brazilian Political Development
- Business-State Relations in Europe
- Campaign Finance in the Era of Super-PACS
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Candidate Emergence and Recruitment
- Channels of Electoral Representation in Advanced Industria...
- China's One-Child Policy
- China-Taiwan Relations
- Chinese Communist Party
- Chinese Economic Policy
- Chinese Nationalism
- Civil Society in South Asia
- Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Civil-Military Relations in Asia
- Civil-Military Relations in Latin America
- Class in American Politics
- Comparative Capitalism Theory
- Comparative Industrial Relations in Europe
- Comparative Politics of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bis...
- Comparative Politics of Chile and Uruguay
- Comparative Politics of Federalism
- Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
- Congress, Defense, and Foreign Policy
- Congressional Reassertion of Authority
- Conservative Litigation Strategies and Groups in US Judici...
- Corruption in China
- Cosmopolitan Political Thought
- Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspective, ...
- Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School
- Cuban Political Development
- Cycles of Protest
- Democracy and Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Democracy and Dictatorship in Central Asia
- Democracy in Latin America
- Democratic Citizenship
- Democratic Consolidation
- Democratic Peace Theory
- Democratic Theory
- Democratization in Africa
- Democratization in Central America
- Democratization in Mexico
- Development of Survey Research
- Direct Democracy in the United States
- East Africa, Politics of
- Economic Voting
- Election Forecasting
- Election Laws in Democracies
- Electoral and Party System Development in Sub-Saharan Afri...
- Electoral Change in Latin America
- Emotion and Racial Attitudes in Contemporary American Poli...
- Environmental Governance
- Environmental Politics among Advanced Industrial Democraci...
- Ethnic Diasporas and US Foreign Policy
- Ethnic Politics
- Eurasia, Comparative Politics of
- European Social Democracy
- European Union, Politics of the
- Failed and Weak States in Theory and Practice
- Far-Right Parties in Europe
- Federalism in the United States
- Field Experiments
- Filibuster, The
- Gender and Electoral Politics in the United States
- Gender and International Relations
- Gender, Behavior, and Representation
- Global Inequality
- Globalization and the Welfare State
- Globalization, Health Crises, and Health Care
- Governance in Africa
- Governmental Responses to Political Corruption
- Gridlock and Divided Government in the U.S.
- Historiography of Twentieth-Century American Conservatism,...
- Hobbes’s Political Thought
- Hume’s Political Thought
- Hybrid Regimes
- Identity and Political Behavior
- Immigrant Incorporation in Canada
- Immigrant Incorporation in Western Europe
- Immigration and International Relations
- Immigration Politics and Policy in the United States
- Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior...
- Implicit Attitudes in Public Opinion
- Income Dynamics and Politics in North America and Europe
- Income Inequality and Advanced Democracies
- Income Inequality in the United States, The Politics of
- Indian Democracy
- Indigenous Rights and Governance in Canada, Australia, and...
- Informal Practices of Accountability in Urban Africa
- Institutional Change in Advanced Democracies
- Intellectual Property in International Relations
- Interest Groups and Inequality in the United States
- Interest Groups in American Politics
- International Conflict Management
- International Criminal Justice
- International Law
- International NGOs
- International Political Economy of Illegal Drugs
- Internet and Politics, The
- Iran, Political Development of
- Israeli Politics
- Judicial Supremacy and National Judicial Review
- Judiciaries and Politics in East Asia
- Kant's Political Thought
- Labor Politics in East Asia
- Land Reform in Latin America
- Latin America, Democratic Transitions in
- Latin America, Environmental Policy and Politics in
- Latin America, Guerrilla Insurgencies in
- Latin America, Social Movements in
- Legal Mobilization
- LGBT Politics in the United States
- Liberal Pluralism
- Local Governments in the United States
- Machiavelli’s Political Thought
- Marx's Political Thought
- Mass Incarceration and US Politics
- Mechanisms of Representation
- Media Effects in Politics
- Media Politics in South Asia
- Minority Political Engagement and Representation in the Un...
- Modern Dynastic Rule
- Modern Elections and Voting Behavior in Europe
- National Interbranch Politics in the United States
- NATO, Politics of
- Negative Campaigning
- Neoclassical Realism
- New Institutionalism Revisited, The
- North America, Comparative Politics of
- Oil, Politics of
- Origins and Impact of Proportional Representation, The
- Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities
- Partisan and Nonpartisan Theories of Organization in the U...
- Partisan Polarization in the US Congress
- Partisan Polarization in the US Electorate
- Party Networks
- Peace Operations
- Personality and Politics
- Plato's Political Thought
- Policy Responsiveness to Public Opinion
- Political Economy of Financial Regulation in Advanced Ind...
- Political Economy of Taxation, The
- Political Geography in American Politics
- Political Obligation
- Political Parties and Electoral Politics of Japan
- Political Thought, Hegel's
- Political Thought of the American Founders, The
- Politics and Policy in Contemporary Argentina
- Politics of Anti-Americanism
- Politics of Class Formation
- Politics of Disaster Prevention and Management
- Politics of Financial Crises
- Politics of Foreign Direct Investment in South Asia
- Politics of Higher Education in the U.S.
- Politics of Internal Conquest in the United States and Can...
- Politics of Japan
- Politics of Natural Disasters, The
- Politics of North Korea
- Politics of Science and Technology
- Politics of South Africa
- Politics of Southern Africa
- Postcolonialism and International Relations
- Post-Communist Democratization
- Preferential Trade Agreements, Politics of
- Presidential Persuasion and Public Opinion
- Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
- Private Governance
- Public Opinion in Advanced Industrial Democracies
- Public Opinion in New Democracies and Developing Nations
- Public Presidency, US Elections, and the Permanent Campaig...
- Qualitative Methods, The Renewal of
- Race in American Political Thought
- Racial and Ethnic Descriptive Representation in the United...
- Regime Transitions and Variation in Post-Communist Europe
- Regional Integration in Latin America
- Regional Security
- Regulating Food Production
- Religion in American Political Thought
- Religion in Contemporary Political Thought
- Religion, Politics, and Civic Engagement in the United Sta...
- Rousseau's Political Thought
- Rule of Law
- Russia and the West
- Science and Democracy
- Social Policy and Immigrant Integration
- South Korea, Politics of
- Spectacle, The
- State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa
- State Formation
- State, The Nature of the
- Supreme Court of the United States, The
- Systemic Theories of International Politics
- Taiwan, Politics of
- Tea Party, The
- The New Right in American Political Thought
- Transitional Justice
- Transnational Private Regulation
- Turkey, Political Development of
- US Military Bases Abroad
- US Presidency, The
- Voter Turnout
- Welfare State Development
- Welfare State Development in Latin America
- Welfare State Development in Western Europe
- West Africa, Politics of
- Worker Politics in China
- Youth and Generational Differences in US Politics