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Pol 168: [email protected] Politics Professor B. Jones Dept. of Political Science UC-Davis Fall 2009 What is Latino Politics Research? Academic focus on race/ethnic politics typically on African-Americans …which seems natural given historical circumstances.

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Pol 168 latin@ politics l.jpg

Pol 168: [email protected] Politics

Professor B. Jones

Dept. of Political Science


Fall 2009

What is latino politics research l.jpg
What is Latino Politics Research?

  • Academic focus on race/ethnic politics typically on African-Americans

  • …which seems natural given historical circumstances.

  • But as a separate field, Latino Politics has seen considerable growth…

  • But what is it?

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Central Issues and Themes in Political Science Research on Latinos

  • Identity Politics and Community

    • “Do Latinos Exist?” (Dominguez 1994)

    • Blurred distinction between race and ethnicity

  • The concept of “Latino” is an American concept

    • As such, it is sort of a clearinghouse term

    • Sometimes, hard to know what it means

  • Is there a “Latino Vote”?

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The “Latino Vote” Latinos

  • “Courting the Latino Vote”

  • Analysis from CBS news (from 7/08 but basic points relevant) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKOQ96diBNQ

  • So what is the Latino vote?

  • BTW, California Field Poll August 2009: 21% of registered voters are Latino.

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Identity Politics Latinos

  • A bloc implies identity?

  • A prominent research question is the extent to which Latinos have common interests…

  • Share a community…

  • Have a common identity

  • In literature on Af.-Americans, a prominent theme is the concept of “linked fate.”

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Linked Fate Latinos

  • “Linked fate represents a stage of identification that starts with a feeling of closeness to others who identify with the group label and involves the acceptance of the belief that individual life chances are inextricably tied to the group as a whole” (Simien, Journal of Black Studies, 35: 529-550)

  • Dawson, M. C. (1994). Behind the mule: Race and class in African American politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Does a similar concept apply to Latinos? Why? Why not?

  • Does such a thing need to exist to sustain Latino identity?

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Shared Identity Latinos

  • Do Guatemalans “identify” with Mexicans?

  • Or El Salvadorans, Hondurans, Cubans, Chileans, Colombians, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, Argentinians, … ?

  • And all as “Latino”?

  • Probably Not…

  • but does this preclude the possibility of Latino Identity?

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Latino Identity Latinos

  • Mobilization and Collective Action Research important here! (Why an important question?)

  • Social Movement research important too.

  • Can these things evoke “identity?”

  • Importance of people like César Chávez

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Latino Identity Latinos

  • The role Latino politicians play is important?

  • Do they, can they serve as “bonding agents” in the Latino community?

  • We will learn about the importance of “descriptive representation” later in the quarter.

  • But let’s take a quick sidetrip: CHC

  • http://velazquez.house.gov/chc/

  • Is a Latino Identity possible?

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Latino Identity Latinos

  • What factors might promote identity?

  • Language? Cultural mores? Shared political interests?

  • Could immigration issue serve as a “bonding agent”?

  • …or is it all just a “who cares” question?!

  • Flip the question around?

  • What if non-Latinos perceived a “Latino Identity”?

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Perceptions of Identity Latinos

  • If viewed as a group by out-group members, what are the implications?

  • Have Latinos been tethered to the immigration issue?

    • Springfield, TN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcov24pcHgA

  • Is there an “us” vs. “them” mentality in the U.S.?

  • If so, where do we find it?

  • Brief detour: Social Identity Theory…this will help us understand how “identities” can be “activated.”

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Social Identity Theory Latinos

  • Originally developed by psychologist Henri Tajfel and developed further with John Turner

  • Seeks to identify conditions under which identities emerge.

  • Note: they need not always be present

  • As such, group-based conflict may ebb and flow.

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Social Identity Latinos









Social Categorization and

the Salience of Social


Permeability and



Historical or Political


Social Identity Theory

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Social Identity Theory Identity Theory

  • The notion of value threat (Branscombe et al 1999)

  • Status Hierarchy

  • Context Important

  • Are conditions in place or nearly in place to predict Latino collective action?

  • Are we seeing signs of backlash toward Latinos?

  • If so, will this promote some kind of Latino Identity?

  • This is an issue in Latino politics research.

  • Let’s think about what political identity might look like?

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Latino Identity Identity Theory

  • Some Data Analysis

    • 2006 Latino National Survey

  • Latinos’ sense of commonality with “Latinos”

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Latino Commonality Identity Theory

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Latino “Linked Fate” Identity Theory

  • Why might Latinos have a sense of “linked fate”?

    • First off, what is it??

    • Does the concept apply to Latinos

  • 2006 LNS Data

    • How much does “doing well” depend on other Latinos also doing well?

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Linked Fate Identity Theory

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Latino Linked Fate Identity Theory

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Contributing Factors to Latino Linked Fate Identity Theory

Perceived commonality1 Latino Linked Fate

  • Nativity 67.4/62.9

  • Language Use 67.9/61.7

  • Linked fate w/ African. Amer. 74.3/58.6

  • Partisan Identity 74.5/61.2

  • Linked fate w/ Latinos 73.7/46.1

  • Race/ethnicity of co-workers 66.6/63.3

1 The set of percentages represents Latino respondents who indicated some or a lot of commonality for native/foreign born, English/Spanish speakers. For the linked fate percentages, it is some/a lot vs. little/nothing. For partisan, it is partisans vs. non-partisans. And coworkers represent mixed group of coworkers vs. only Latinos.

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Levels of Pan Ethnicity and Connectedness Identity TheoryOf One’s Subgroup to Other Latinos

  • One-half of LNS Latinos perceive a lot of commonalities with one’s group and other Latinos

  • Stronger pan-ethnic identifiers are more inclined to see this connection.

  • Over three- fourths of the combined stronger pan-ethic identifiers see their own national origin group as having a similar fate with other Latinos

  • (This slide is a part of an LNS ppt)

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Linked Fate Identity Theory

  • Note differences by US born vs. non-US born

  • High level? Low level?

  • Implications of Pan-Ethnic Identity…?

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Pan-Ethnicity Identity Theory

  • Attempts to foster pan-ethnicity—which presumably would foster perceptions of shared fate—have been widespread.

  • Quick History Lesson

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Mobilization and Organization Identity Theory

  • Southwest Council of La Raza now…

  • National Council on La Raza: http://www.nclr.org/

  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund


    Two recent examples

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Historical Groups Identity Theory

  • Orden de Los Hijos de Americana

  • La Alianza HispanoAmericano

    • 19th century groups

  • Focus in the southwest and was on Mexicanos

  • Population in-flux in early 20c prompted emergence of other groups.

  • 1927 League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

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LULAC Identity Theory

  • Website: http://lulac.org/

  • Promoted cultural assimilation (language acquisition) and started the Little Schools of the 400 program (1950s)

  • Nonpartisan advocacy organization

  • Mass-based membership (Latinos generally)

  • There are group-specific organizations

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Groups within Political Institutions Identity Theory

  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus

  • National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)

    • http://www.naleo.org/

    • Formed in 1976

    • About 6000 members

    • Goals? Aims?

  • Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP)

    • http://www.svrep.org/

  • More data (Pew 2004 survey)

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Other Results (p=.00, two-tail).

  • Mexican Origin slightly less attentive compared to non-Mexican origin.

  • Cuban Origin significantly more attentive to politics compared to non-Cubano

  • No significant differences in attentiveness for Central or South American descent.

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Party Affiliation (p=.00, two-tail).

  • Why care about party affiliation?

    • Closed primaries

    • Dominance of two-party system (like it or not)

  • Concerns about “monolithic” vote.

    • Is it fair to characterize Latino/as as a singular group?

  • Let’s consider some data.

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Identification: By Gender (p=.00, two-tail).

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Identification: By Birthplace (p=.00, two-tail).

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Identification by Origin: Mexican (p=.00, two-tail).

  • Mexican Origin

    • About 14 percent identify REPUBLICAN

    • About 35 percent identify DEMOCRAT

    • About 26 percent identify INDEPENDENT

    • About 12 percent identify as “SOMETHING ELSE”

  • Take-away points?

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Identification by Origin: Cuba (p=.00, two-tail).

  • Cuban Origin

    • About 47 percent identify REPUBLICAN

    • About 19 percent identify DEMOCRAT

    • About 17 percent identify INDEPENDENT

    • About 6 percent identify as “SOMETHING ELSE”

  • Take-away points?

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Identification by Origin: Puerto Rico (p=.00, two-tail).

  • Puerto Rican Origin

    • About 16 percent identify REPUBLICAN

    • About 44 percent identify DEMOCRAT

    • About 17 percent identify INDEPENDENT

    • About 12 percent identify as “SOMETHING ELSE”

  • Take-away Points?

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Identification: Central American (p=.00, two-tail).

  • Central American Origin

    • 14 percent REPUBLICAN

    • 32 percent DEMOCRAT

    • 31 percent INDEPENDENT

    • 6 percent SOMETHING ELSE

    • “Leaners” 47 percent DEM

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Identification: South American (p=.00, two-tail).

  • South American Origin

    • 17 percent REPUBLICAN

    • 36 percent DEMOCRAT

    • 28 percent INDEPENDENT

    • 10 percent SOMETHING ELSE

    • “Leaners” 47 percent DEM

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Implications of all of this? (p=.00, two-tail).

  • Are Latino/as monolithic, in terms of partisanship?

  • What do these sliver of data suggest for the future? (If anything)

  • Why Care? Consider demographics of California

  • August 2009 CA. Field Poll:

    • http://www.scribd.com/doc/18170956/August-2009-Field-Poll

    • Republican: 79% WNH

    • Democrat: 55% WNH

  • Can we detect a political identity?

  • It seems clear, however, why Latinos matter!

  • We need to look at population statistics.