AuthorRivera, Sylvia Manzano
AdvisorGarcia, John A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study examines the role of social capital in the political life of Latinos in the United States. I consider the likelihood that Latinos accumulate and utilize social capital differently than the dominant political science literature has suggested. Most social capital research has examined the majority population and the participatory outcomes of their network resources. For Latinos, social capital is complicated by ethnicity. Latino social networks and political participation can occur in two different ethnic contexts: one which is exclusively Latino and one which is dominated by the majority, Anglo population. Using Robert Putnam's definition and classification of social capital, I examine how the three largest Latino national origin groups accumulate social capital and participate in the American political system. Ultimately I examine not only how much social capital exists among Latinos, but also how it functions for them. This dissertation engages in testing and building upon social capital theory by examining its five components and its bifurcated nature. This dissertation offers a full analysis of social capital presence and performance among Latinos. First I examine social capital accumulation among Latinos. Then I explore how social capital operates in the context of political participation. I find clear evidence of two types of social capital: bridge and bond. I find that Latinos are accumulating both bond and bridge social capital, and levels of political activity are highly affected by these resources. National origin, nativity, gender and language largely influence how Latinos accumulate and employ their social capital resources. Foreign born, female and Spanish dominant Latinos have their social capital more densely concentrated among co-ethnics. The implications of the differing levels of bond and bridge social capital resources in the political setting are varied. My analysis indicates that bridge social capital has consistently strong and positive effects on Latino political participation in any ethnic political context. Bond social capital generally has a positive impact on Latino participation as well, though not as consistent as bridge capital. Social capital theory does indeed help explain some of the uniqueness found in Latino political behavior.
Degree ProgramGraduate College