Pol 168: Latin@ 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. • But as a separate field, Latino Politics has seen considerable growth… • But what is it?
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”?
The “Latino Vote” • “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.
Identity Politics • 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.”
Linked Fate • “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?
Shared Identity • 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?
Latino Identity • 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
Latino Identity • 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?
Latino Identity • 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”?
Perceptions of Identity • 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.”
Social Identity Theory • 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.
Social Identity Theory Social Psychological Component System Component Societal Context Social Categorization and the Salience of Social Identity Permeability and Legitimacy System Historical or Political Circumstances Social Identity Theory
Predictions of Discriminatory Behavior/Attitudes from Social Identity Theory
Social 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?
Latino Identity • Some Data Analysis • 2006 Latino National Survey • Latinos’ sense of commonality with “Latinos”
Latino “Linked Fate” • 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?
Contributing Factors to Latino Linked Fate 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.
Levels of Pan Ethnicity and ConnectednessOf 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)
Linked Fate • Note differences by US born vs. non-US born • High level? Low level? • Implications of Pan-Ethnic Identity…?
Pan-Ethnicity • Attempts to foster pan-ethnicity—which presumably would foster perceptions of shared fate—have been widespread. • Quick History Lesson
Mobilization and Organization • Southwest Council of La Raza now… • National Council on La Raza: http://www.nclr.org/ • Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund http://www.maldef.org/ Two recent examples
Historical Groups • 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)
LULAC • 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
Groups within Political Institutions • 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)
Attention: US-born more attentive than non US-born in survey (p=.00, two-tail).
Other Results • 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.
Party Affiliation • 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.
Identification by Origin: Mexican • 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?
Identification by Origin: Cuba • 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?
Identification by Origin: Puerto Rico • 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?
Identification: Central American • Central American Origin • 14 percent REPUBLICAN • 32 percent DEMOCRAT • 31 percent INDEPENDENT • 6 percent SOMETHING ELSE • “Leaners” 47 percent DEM
Identification: South American • South American Origin • 17 percent REPUBLICAN • 36 percent DEMOCRAT • 28 percent INDEPENDENT • 10 percent SOMETHING ELSE • “Leaners” 47 percent DEM
Implications of all of this? • 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.