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Fluid Borders

Fluid Borders: Latino Power, Identity, and Politics in Los Angeles

LISA GARCÍA BEDOLLA
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Pages: 293
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppf2x
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  • Book Info
    Fluid Borders
    Book Description:

    This provocative study of the Latino political experience offers a nuanced, in-depth, and often surprising perspective on the factors affecting the political engagement of a segment of the population that is now the nation's largest minority. Drawing from one hundred in-depth interviews, Lisa García Bedolla compares the political attitudes and behavior of Latinos in two communities: working-class East Los Angeles and middle-class Montebello. Asking how collective identity and social context have affected political socialization, political attitudes and practices, and levels of political participation among the foreign born and native born, she offers new findings that are often at odds with the conventional wisdom emphasizing the role socioeconomic status plays in political involvement.Fluid Bordersincludes the voices of many individuals, offers exciting new research on Latina women indicating that they are more likely than men to vote and to participate in political activities, and considers how the experience of social stigma affects the collective identification and political engagement of members of marginal groups. This innovative study points the way toward a better understanding of the Latino political experience, and how it differs from that of other racial groups, by situating it at the intersection of power, collective identity, and place.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93849-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. ONE Latino Political Engagement: THE INTERSECTION OF POWER, IDENTITY(IES), AND PLACE
    (pp. 1-25)

    Studies of political engagement rarely mention crossing borders.¹ Yet an examination of the experiences of immigrants in the United States highlights the many boundaries, both physical and psychological, that immigrants must cross before they become engaged politically. This is a different way of thinking about borders. It moves away from merely considering boundaries between nation-states and toward seeing the many barriers that exist within the U.S. polity itself. To recognize these boundaries, we need to look at what Vicki Ruiz calls “internal migration,” immigrants’ process of “creating, accommodating, resisting, and transforming the physical and psychological environs of their ‘new’ lives...

  6. TWO Legacies of Conquest: LATINOS IN CALIFORNIA AND LOS ANGELES
    (pp. 26-60)

    Although the 1990s were an especially turbulent time in California politics, the moves to restrict immigration and immigrant rights form part of a long tradition in California history. Since California became part of the United States, Latinos have been subjected to social and geographic segregation, economic discrimination, and political exclusion, and they have continually resisted this subordinate status.¹ Since the turn of the twentieth century, East Los Angeles in particular has been a center of Latino organizational and cultural life. This has served as an important source of contextual capital for Latino residents. Montebello, for particular historical reasons, lacks this...

  7. THREE A Thin Line between Love and Hate: LANGUAGE, SOCIAL STIGMA, AND INTRAGROUP RELATIONS
    (pp. 61-99)

    Scholars studying Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latinos in the United States have long emphasized the important role of language and culture.¹ Spanish-language use and maintenance (or not) has been seen as an important aspect of how Latinos define their culture and identity.² Language use affects the integration of Latino immigrants, Latinos’ understanding of their own social identity, and intragroup relations. These processes are structured by the negative stereotypes Latinos feel that Anglos have of the Latino social group and by the way in which those stereotypes are seen as applying, by extension, to Spanish-language use. I explore here...

  8. FOUR Why Vote? RACE, IDENTITY(IES), AND POLITICS
    (pp. 100-136)

    The discussion thus far has focused on the nature and effects of Latino identity—the identification Latinos have as members of a racialized group. Yet, like all individuals, these respondents have multiple identities, including gender- and class-based ones. Feminists of color and critical theorists have emphasized the need to look at the intersections of race, class, and gender in order to fully understand the social, political, and economic experiences of communities of color in the United States.¹ However, the attempt to incorporate this kind of analysis into empirical work raises important theoretical problems. First, we must consider why exactly we...

  9. FIVE Community Problems, Collective Solutions: LATINOS AND NONELECTORAL PARTICIPATION
    (pp. 137-174)

    The termnonelectoral politicsrefers to any community or collectively oriented activity the respondents engaged in. This included volunteer work such as cleaning up their neighborhoods, removing graffiti, engaging in church activities, helping to improve local schools, or assisting local children. Most studies of political behavior focus on voting behavior; however, political participation is multidimensional, with many different modes of activity, including community activism, contacting government officials, protests, and communicating with community members.¹ Employing a broader definition of participation is especially important when studying groups that historically have not participated in electoral politics. Robert Wrinkle and colleagues argue that nonelectoral...

  10. CONCLUSION. Fluid Borders: LATINOS, RACE, AND AMERICAN POLITICS
    (pp. 175-192)

    Political engagement requires that individuals have particular understandings of themselves vis-à-vis the political system. For members of subordinate groups, affective attachment to their social group forms an important part of that understanding. Thus it is the content of their collective identities that determines whether or not a particular campaign, political movement, or social issue will mobilize group members to become engaged in politics and how they will choose to be engaged. These collective identities are constructed by individuals’ experiences of stigma, by their social context, and by the social networks in which they are engaged. History matters, including past political...

  11. APPENDIX A: Study Respondents
    (pp. 193-198)
  12. APPENDIX B: Interview Questionnaire
    (pp. 199-202)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 203-250)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 251-270)
  15. Index
    (pp. 271-278)