ETHNICITY AND MODES OF PARTICIPATION: WHITE ETHNICS, BLACKS AND HISPANICS IN NEW YORK CITY

EUGENE J CORNACCHIA, Fordham University

Abstract

The thesis of this dissertation is that ethnicity is an important source of variation in the modes of political participation. A multidimensional model of how ethnicity causally affects the modes of participation is presented and empirically tested using a survey of seven community planning districts in New York City, in which 973 respondents representing eight ethnic groups were interviewed.^ The theory posited that the primary link between ethnicity and the modes of participation is cultural. Ethnic culture influences the modes through its impact on the formation of political attitudes and values conducive to participation or "participant political culture." The existence of a link between "nominal" ethnic identity and participant political culture was conceptualized as an indirect indicator of differences in ethnic political culture, especially after other potentially important variables were controlled.^ Two additional dimensions of ethnicity were identified as important in understanding modal variation in participation: ethnic social cohesion and ethnic group consciousness. These two dimensions of ethnicity were conceived as facilitators of ethnic cultural distinctiveness.^ The data analysis provided strong support for the cultural path to the modes of participation. The findings were consistent with a model whereby one's "nominal" ethnic identity leads to greater or lesser levels of electoral or communal participation by furnishing the individual with political attitudes that facilitate or inhibit participation. The analysis also revealed that nominal ethnic identity had a greater direct impact on voting than on communal activity. The introduction of nonethnic controls did not wash away any of the paths identified.^ The analysis did not provide support for an important role for ethnic social cohesion and consciousness. Tests for suppression using nonethnic control variables and tests for statistical interaction were unfruitful in uncovering a role for either consciousness or cohesion in understanding the political attitudes or modes of participation.^ The study provided support for the continued importance of ethnicity in understanding political participation and suggests that policymakers seeking to improve the responsiveness of government must take ethnic political culture differences into account to accurately understand the nature and sources of political participation in an urban polity. ^

Subject Area

Political science

Recommended Citation

CORNACCHIA, EUGENE J, "ETHNICITY AND MODES OF PARTICIPATION: WHITE ETHNICS, BLACKS AND HISPANICS IN NEW YORK CITY" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8521384.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8521384

Share

COinS