The Struggle over Cultural Citizenship: An Analysis of Political Participation in a Local Hispanic Community



Robb, Nicholas J

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In pursuit to discover the causes of low levels of Hispanic political participation in the city of Winchester Virginia, this thesis employs Renato Rosaldo's concept of "cultural citizenship", explicating culture's role in political participation. The idea of "cultural citizenship" refers to not just the legal definition of citizenship, but the cultural elements that define citizenship as well. By analyzing the role culture plays in citizenship one can explain, in part, the causes of low levels of political participation within the local Hispanic community. Through an analysis of cultural attributes such as: language, family and community values, and political beliefs, this study aims to show that variances among these cultural attributes across generations of Hispanic immigrants lead to differences in political education and participation levels. The enculturation of younger Hispanics into U.S. society in particular, leads to increased levels of political education and participation, while older, usually first-generation Hispanics in Winchester, Virginia, tend to possess lower levels of political education and participation. This understanding of culture's influence on political education and participation can direct public outreach strategies used by local governments to increase participation among older first-generation Hispanic residents.



Culture, Citizenship, Hispanic, Political participation, Public involvement, Cultural citizenship