The Obligation Mosaic

This week's review investigates how social norms impact political participation across ethnoracial groups in commemoration of Election Day.

The Obligation Mosaic: Race and Social Norms in US Political Participation

Anoll, Allison P. Chicago, 2022
258p bibl index, 9780226812267 $105.00, 9780226812571 $35.00, 9780226812434 $34.99

The Obligation Mosaic: Race and Social Norms in US Political Participation book cover.

It has long been clear that some canonical research on voting behavior is inadequate for explaining the participation of non-white populations. Anoll (Vanderbilt Univ.) clarifies this point with her study of the influence of social norms on behavior, showing how their effects vary across ethnoracial groups. Using interview and survey data to identify what she calls the “respect for ancestors” and the “helping hands” norms, Anoll demonstrates that these norms are widely held, but their political impact varies depending on factors such as the history of a group and the ways that individuals are embedded in their communities. For example, whites and Blacks are more likely than Asian Americans or Latinxs to see voting as a way of honoring the sacrifices of their forebears. Anoll also finds fascinating variations between and within ethnoracial populations. For instance, Blacks living in heavily African American neighborhoods view protest attendance by coracials favorably, but Latinxs living in largely Hispanic neighborhoods view such activity by their coethnics unfavorably. Data limitations prevent Anoll from looking at some important variations within these populations, but this work is an impressive analysis that provides valuable new insights into the causes of participation differences across ethnoracial groups.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty; professionals.
: A. L. Aoki, Augsburg University
Interdisciplinary Subjects: African and African American Studies, Asian and Asian American Studies, Latin American & Latina/o Studies, Racial Justice
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Political Science – U.S. Politics
Choice Issue: Oct 2023

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