Inventive Politicians and Ethnic Ascent in American Politics: The Uphill Elections of Italians and Mexicans to the U.S. Congress

Inventive Politicians and Ethnic Ascent in American Politics: The Uphill Elections of Italians and Mexicans to the U.S. Congress

by Miriam Jimenez

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Overview

Inventive Politicians and Ethnic Ascent in American Politics: The Uphill Elections of Italians and Mexicans to the U.S. Congress by Miriam Jimenez

This innovative book investigates the process through which ethnic minorities penetrate into higher echelons of political power: specifically, how they succeed in getting elected to the U.S. Congress. Analysts today see ethnic politicians largely in relation to their collectivities, but by actually studying what ethnic minority politicians do and the issues they have faced, Jiménez's book offers an original perspective of analysis.

Jiménez utilizes a ground-breaking comparative dataset of elected members of Congress organized upon the basis of national origin, the first available. Using the cases of Mexican-Americans and Italian-Americans, Jimenez analyzes and compares the different ways that these ethnic politicians have been elected to the national legislature from the beginning of the 20th century until the present. Her study examines Italian and Mexican-American politicians’ actions and interactions with local political parties, identifies various layers of political power that have influenced their successes and failures, and uncovers the strategies that they have used. Jimenez argues that the politically active segment of an ethnic group matters in the process of political incorporation of a group. She also asserts that regular access of ethnic groups into upper levels of political office and the full acceptance of new ethnic players only occurs as a consequence of an institutional change.

Jiménez’s pioneering documentation and analysis of the strategies of ethnic minority politicians and the ways that political institutions have influenced these politicians is significant to scholars of political incorporation, race and ethnicity, and congressional elections. Her book demonstrates the need to reconsider several standard ideas of how minority representation occurs and deepens our understanding of the role that political institutions play in that process.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780415818490
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 10/11/2013
Series: Routledge Research in American Politics and Governance Series
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Miriam Jiménez is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Oswego. Her research focuses on political incorporation and ethnic ascent in the context of American electoral frameworks and institutions such as the U.S. Congress. She is an eager proponent of cross-field and interdisciplinary perspectives. Her research interests include American politics, immigration, and transnationalism.

Table of Contents

Part I. Politicians, Institutions, and Change. 1. Uphill Struggles and Inventive Politicians 2. Italians and Mexicans in the U.S.: A Brief Historical Survey Part II. When Local Parties Ruled. 3. Big Machines and Inventive Italians 4. Mexican Americans: Invisibility and Exception Part III. National Standards—and More Parties 5. Italian-Americans: New Rules, Challenges, and Change 6. Mexican Americans: New Rules and Old Problems Part IV. Ethnic Ascent from a Micro Scale of Observation 7. Conclusion

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