Government and International Relations Honors Papers

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Mara Suttman-Lea

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How do Latinx college students define and perceive their political involvement, engagement, and political socialization? Differences in citizenship and socioeconomic status, as well as a lack of mobilization by political parties and candidates, all contribute to lower voting rates across the Latinx community, yet the members of these communities are often deeply engaged in activism that is policy-aware and government-focused. While the Latinx population may be categorized as the “sleeping giant” because of its low participation at the polls, this paper unveils a new narrative and characterization of political participation in Latinx communities through political ethnography. This methodological approach empowers members of the Latinx communities to define political participation on their own terms. I use in-depth seventeen interviews with current Latinx students at a four-year predominately white liberal arts college to provide more nuanced information about the priorities of the Latinx youth as they engage in the American political system. This paper responds to the narrative surrounding Latinx political participation and expands established definitions of political participation through its ethnographic approach.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.