Does Italian-American “ethnic politics” exist at all? In other words, How do Italian-American politicians get themselves elected? To what extent do they try to influence the Italian-American electorate to vote on the basis of their ethnic identity? In order to answer these questions I approach Ethnic Politics within the context of alternative competing models: Local Politics, where the vote is acquired through patronage and clientelism; Issue Politics, where the vote is traded in the global market of opinions and policy preferences; and Party Politics, which encourages voters to align on the basis of partisan cleavages. Based on a series of in-depth interviews with New York State legislators of Italian descent, the study concludes that, although they may have subjective sensibilities that make them more or less receptive to the ethnic factor, Italian-American politicians tend to consider their options pragmatically — their primary goal being not that of fostering ethnic identity per se, but rather the more mundane one of gaining and consolidating power.

Re-Interpreting Italian American Politics: The Role of Ethnicity

CAPPELLI, Ottorino
2011

Abstract

Does Italian-American “ethnic politics” exist at all? In other words, How do Italian-American politicians get themselves elected? To what extent do they try to influence the Italian-American electorate to vote on the basis of their ethnic identity? In order to answer these questions I approach Ethnic Politics within the context of alternative competing models: Local Politics, where the vote is acquired through patronage and clientelism; Issue Politics, where the vote is traded in the global market of opinions and policy preferences; and Party Politics, which encourages voters to align on the basis of partisan cleavages. Based on a series of in-depth interviews with New York State legislators of Italian descent, the study concludes that, although they may have subjective sensibilities that make them more or less receptive to the ethnic factor, Italian-American politicians tend to consider their options pragmatically — their primary goal being not that of fostering ethnic identity per se, but rather the more mundane one of gaining and consolidating power.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11574/40411
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