Introduction to Latino Politics in the U.S.

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 6/29/2009
  • Publisher: Polity Pr

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Focusing on five Latino groups - Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans - this book provides students with a comprehensive introduction to Latino participation in US politics. It begins by looking at the migration history of each group and how that experience is affected by US foreign policy and economic interests in each country of origin. The political status of Latinos on arrival in the United States, including their civil rights, employment opportunities, and political incorporation, is then examined. Finally, the analysis follows each group's history of collective mobilization and political activity, exploring the varied ways they have engaged in the U.S. political system. Using the tension between individual agency and structural constraints as its central organizing theme, the discussion situates Latino migrants, and their children, within larger macro economic and geo-political structures that influence their decisions to migrate and their ability to adapt socially, economically, and politically to their new country. It also demonstrates how Latinos continually have shown that through political action they can significantly improve their channels of opportunity. Thus, the book pushes students to think critically about what it means to be a racialized minority group within a majoritarian U.S. political system, and how that position structures Latinos' ability to achieve their social, economic, and political goals.

Author Biography

Lisa Garcia Bedolla is Associate Professor of Political Science and of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. viii
List of Illustrationsp. x
Introduction: Latinos and US Politicsp. 1
Latina/o Participation: Individual Activity and Institutional Contextp. 14
Mexican Americans: Conquest, Migration, and Adaptationp. 36
Puerto Ricans: From Colonized People to Political Activistsp. 93
Cuban Americans: Occupation, Revolution, and Exile Politicsp. 119
Central Americans: Inequality, War, and Solidarityp. 150
Conclusion: The Context of Latino Migration and Mobilizationp. 179
Notesp. 189
Bibliographyp. 198
Indexp. 203
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