A multi-modal approach to understanding Asian American political participation




Lawrence, Cornelia Elizabeth

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This project aims to enhance our understanding of political participation within the United States by more carefully and systematically examining political participation within the Asian American community. Previously, prominent theories of political participation have been created with Anglo-Americans in mind, resulting in incomplete or unsatisfactory applications to racial and ethnic minority groups. By updating our understanding of what participation looks like and by formulating a racially aware theory, I seek to improve upon these previous explanations of the participatory habits of voters. I first expand upon the Resource model offered by Verba, Schlozman, and Brady (1995), both by updating the conceptualization of the dependent variable, political participation, to reflect recent technological advances, and including key variables I believe that are missing from the original. My first empirical chapter compares the original Resource model to the updated model, I name the Unified Resource Model, via an Asian American survey sample. There I find strong support for my suggested changes, before speaking with members of the Asian American community via focus groups in my second empirical chapter. Finally, in my third empirical chapter, I retest the Unified Resource Model in a hybrid quantitative-qualitative online community. Throughout this study, generational status and nativity status are significant predictors of the numbers of acts one is likely to participate in politically, and while organizational involvement behaved similarly in 2016, qualitative research suggests that this may no longer be true. All three empirical chapters support the expanded conceptualization of political participation to include social media usage.



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