Event Title

Myth vs. Reality: Uncovering the Causes of African American Voter Turnout in American Cities

Presenter Information

Monique Newton, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center A154

Start Date

10-27-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

One of the major theories explaining Black political participation in the United States is linked fate. Linked fate is the belief that one’s own fate is tied to the fate of the group overall. In his seminal work in 1994, Michael Dawson shows that linked fate is remarkably high among Black Americans. Dawson’s theory states that Blacks in the United States use the social standing of the group as a proxy when making individual political decisions which leads to a very active and unified political front by the majority of Blacks in the United States. However, Dawson implored a macro-level of analysis and used quantitative data. Using Ohio’s 11th Congressional district as a case study, this research calls into question the relationship between Black Americans and the electoral process. Conducting a qualitative analysis into the structural, cultural, and economic factors influencing African American voter turnout, this project explores why African Americans decide to vote in elections. This study finds that linked fate is high among Blacks in Ohio’s 11th congressional district. However, contrary to what previous scholars suggest, linked fate operates within the Black community in this district to heighten their sense of mistrust of the government and decrease voter turnout. This research has broad implications for Black voter turnout in both local and federal elections.

Notes

Session II, Panel 9 - Political | Positioning
Moderator: Jennifer Garcia, Assistant Professor of Politics

Major

Politics; Law & Society

Award

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF)

Project Mentor(s)

Charles Peterson, Africana Studies

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Oct 27th, 4:30 PM Oct 27th, 5:50 PM

Myth vs. Reality: Uncovering the Causes of African American Voter Turnout in American Cities

Science Center A154

One of the major theories explaining Black political participation in the United States is linked fate. Linked fate is the belief that one’s own fate is tied to the fate of the group overall. In his seminal work in 1994, Michael Dawson shows that linked fate is remarkably high among Black Americans. Dawson’s theory states that Blacks in the United States use the social standing of the group as a proxy when making individual political decisions which leads to a very active and unified political front by the majority of Blacks in the United States. However, Dawson implored a macro-level of analysis and used quantitative data. Using Ohio’s 11th Congressional district as a case study, this research calls into question the relationship between Black Americans and the electoral process. Conducting a qualitative analysis into the structural, cultural, and economic factors influencing African American voter turnout, this project explores why African Americans decide to vote in elections. This study finds that linked fate is high among Blacks in Ohio’s 11th congressional district. However, contrary to what previous scholars suggest, linked fate operates within the Black community in this district to heighten their sense of mistrust of the government and decrease voter turnout. This research has broad implications for Black voter turnout in both local and federal elections.