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The symbolic importance of Barack Obama's election is without question. But beyond symbolism, does the election of African-American politicians matter? Grose argues that it does and presents a unified theory of representation. Electing African-American legislators yields more federal dollars and congressional attention directed toward African-American voters. However, race and affirmative action gerrymandering have no impact on public policy passed in Congress. Grose is the first to examine a natural experiment and exceptional moment in history in which black legislators – especially in the U.S. South – represented districts with a majority of white constituents. This is the first systematic examination of the effect of a legislator's race above and beyond the effect of constituency racial characteristics. Grose offers policy prescriptions, including the suggestion that voting rights advocates, the courts, and redistricters draw “black decisive districts,” electorally competitive districts that are likely to elect African Americans.Read more
- First book-length rational choice-based theory of race and representation in political science
- First scholar to successfully examine and disentangle the separate impact of a legislator's race and the district black population on congressional decisions
- Research in the book involves a novel multi-method approach, based on exhaustive interviews with congressional staff conducted by visiting 17 congressional districts in the U.S. South, and on quantitative analyses of the U.S. Congress
Reviews & endorsements
“Grose shows how African-American and white members of Congress, both in the South and elsewhere, have developed new ways to reach out and respond to constituents of all races. These findings, based on a careful, multi-method research design, provide new, fundamental, and important insights into the role of race in contemporary American politics, the politics of civil rights, and debates over redistricting strategies and the value of majority-minority districts.”
—William Bianco, Indiana UniversitySee more reviews
“Armed with fresh interview data and strong statistical approaches, Grose takes on the main controversies in the race and representation literature and offers a new perspective. I was keen to read it.”
—Katherine Tate, University of California, Irvine
“The author addresses a complicated array of research areas and questions, and successfully integrates discussion of the theoretical issues that have generally resided within rather than across these subfields. He also incorporates a rich variety of research methods and types of data to explore how substantive representation occurs in Congress. I advise those with an interest in the historical evolution of voting rights law, in the impact of roll call voting, in a review of the multi-layered literature on the growing participation of African-Americans in national legislative representation and issues of substantive representation, in the complex debates about the appropriate strategies for racial redistricting and in the impact of majority-minority districts, to read this book. Grose has successfully integrated his discussion theoretically, methodologically, and empirically across areas that were previously only loosely or in some cases largely unconnected…This is an important book, and it will be widely read and recognized.” - Dianne M. Pinderhughes, Univeristy of Notre Dame, Congress & the Presidency
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- Date Published: January 2011
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521177016
- length: 256 pages
- dimensions: 215 x 140 x 15 mm
- weight: 0.3kg
- contains: 7 b/w illus. 2 maps 7 tables
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. African-American legislators, African-American districts, or democrats?
2. A unified theory of African-American representation in Congress
3. The 'hollow hope' of civil rights change in the US House
4. Location, location, location: delivering constituency service to African Americans
5. Constituency service in the district: connecting black legislators, black staff, and black voters
6. Bringing home the bacon: delivering federal 'pork' to African Americans
7. The future of racial redistricting: black decisive districts.
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