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Late to the Party: On the Prolonged Partisan Socialization Process of Second-Generation Americans

  • Roberto F. Carlos (a1)
Abstract

This article posits that the key to understanding the low levels of political involvement within contemporary immigrant communities, such as Asian and Latino communities, requires a closer examination of the partisan socialization process of the native-born children of immigrants. This article finds that many native-born children of immigrants, otherwise known as second-generation Americans, experience what I call a “prolonged partisan socialization process.” In the absence of parental partisan transmission, many second-generation Americans are left to find their own path to partisan attainment. The consequences of this are that many second-generation Americans eventually come to find their partisan identity outside of the home and much later in life. These findings disrupt the traditional partisan attainment story, which assumes that partisanship is the product of a process of socialization led by parents. Accounting for this prolonged socialization process provides significant insight into why partisan identification, and by extension political participation, among many second-generation Americans, such as Latinos and Asians appears muted. Therefore, while it will likely take some time for many within these contemporary immigrant communities to reach “partisan maturity,” we should not mistake the prolonged socialization process to mean that these individuals are destined to be politically disengaged.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Roberto F. Carlos, The University of Pennsylvania, Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science room 437, 133 South 36thStreet, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail: rcarlos1@sas.upenn.edu
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