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A Midwestern Mosaic

Immigration and Political Socialization in Rural America

J. Celeste Lay

Publication Year: 2012

Drawn by low-skilled work and the safety and security of rural life, increasing numbers of families from Latin America and Southeast Asia have migrated to the American heartland. In the path-breaking book A Midwestern Mosaic, J. Celeste Lay examines the effects of political socialization on native white youth growing up in small towns.

Lay studies five Iowa towns to investigate how the political attitudes and inclinations of native adolescents change as a result of rapid ethnic diversification. Using surveys and interviews, she discovers that native adolescents adapt very well to foreign-born citizens, and that over time, gaps diminish between diverse populations and youth in all-white/Anglo towns in regard to tolerance, political knowledge, efficacy, and school participation.

A Midwestern Mosaic looks at the next generation to show how exposure to ethnic and cultural diversity during formative years can shape political behavior and will influence politics in the future.

Published by: Temple University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

There is so little work in political science on rural America. Sociology has a small subfield in rural sociology, including a journal and an annual meeting. Anthropologists have long studied rural areas around the world. Political scientists, especially those studying American politics, have focused on...

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Introduction: Places and Political Learning

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pp. 1-10

When I was ten, my family moved from New Orleans to Paducah, Kentucky. The move has caused me to wonder how growing up in a relatively small town has influenced who I am and how I might be a different person if my family had stayed in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the literature...

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1. Transformation of Small-Town America

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pp. 11-26

Driving into Perry, Iowa, one finds a quintessential American small town. There are the nicely mowed lawns, picket fences, and turn-of-the-century homes, many of which have been recently restored. There is the high school at the edge of town, with its Friday night football games where one can...

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2. A Natural Experiment in Iowa Towns

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pp. 27-42

As Clarence Darrow points out, adaptability is critical for every living species. It also has been crucial for U.S. small towns. Over the past halfcentury, many small towns in rural areas literally have died off. In spite of the fact that for most Americans rural imagery is synonymous with farm imagery...

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3. Seeing Race: Attitudes toward Immigrants and Symbolic Racism

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pp. 43-67

Stephen Colbert’s claim is funny not only because he contends he knows his race because of his poor taste in music but also because in the United States, it is ridiculous to believe that anyone does not notice race. Colbert probably would not even need the second statement to get a laugh. Race and...

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4. No Retreat: Civic Withdrawal and Immigration

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pp. 68-90

Although not the fi rst to conceptualize the concept, Robert Putnam’s work on social capital helped set in motion a course of study in political science and other disciplines about the decline of political participation and civic engagement in the United States and around the world. This has included...

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5. Gradual Progress

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pp. 91-114

The preceding chapters have shown that native-born young people in these ethnically diverse small towns have responded to immigration with neither complete hostility nor hospitality. Young people in the diverse communities were less sympathetic to immigrants and less politically knowledgeable than...

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6. What Happened to My Town?

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pp. 115-139

In the 2008–2009 academic year, first-, second-, and third-generation immigrant students from around the world together made up a majority of the student body at Storm Lake High School. Forty-one percent of the students were non-Hispanic White. For many Americans, this is exactly the future they...

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Conclusion: The Implications of a New Normal

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pp. 140-152

In 2009, a recent Perry High School graduate and his family were in a horrific car accident. The boy’s parents and sister died, and he was paralyzed. As many would expect of small towns, people came out in a big way to help. The com...

Appendix: Samples, Survey Items, and Variables

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pp. 153-156

Notes

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pp. 157-191

Bibliography

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pp. 193-216

Index

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pp. 217-224

About the Author

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pp. 225-


E-ISBN-13: 9781439907948
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439907931

Page Count: 238
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Social Logic of Politics
Series Editor Byline: edited by Scott D. McClurg