The Political Participation of Asian Americans

Authored by: Pei-te Lien

The Routledge Handbook of Asian American Studies

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415738255
eBook ISBN: 9781315817514
Adobe ISBN: 9781317813927


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For most Americans, political participation is the other name for voting and elections. For Asian Americans, it refers to a multifaceted and evolving phenomenon where practice of nonvoting forms of political participation precedes voting and continues to serve as an important means of civic engagement for those who cannot or opt not to access the ballot. Research in American political behavior generally emphasizes the role of basic socioeconomic status such as education and income, other political resources such as time and civic skills, political interest and engagement, and political mobilization and contacts in determining the extent of voting and other acts of political participation (Verba, Scholzman, and Brady 1995). Although these factors have been found to influence Asian American voting behavior, for the majority members of the community who were not U.S.-born, their voting and other participation are additionally impacted by international migration-related factors such as country of birth, age of migration, length of U.S. residency, English proficiency, and maintaining contacts with the home country. These differences between Asian and non-Asian Americans are important to keep in mind as we appraise the development and current status of their political participation.

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