Event Title

Socioeconomic Status and Political Participation in Belgrade, ME

Presenter Information

Shelby O'Neill, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Diamond 241

Start Date

30-4-2015 1:25 PM

End Date

30-4-2015 2:25 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

Political scientists have directed attention to participatory inequality in national and state politics in the U.S. Participation in almost every form of political activity in the U.S. is stratified by socioeconomic status. Put simply, the upper class is more likely than the lower class to be politically involved, which amplifies its political voice relative to that of the lower class. Participatory inequality in national and state politics is stark; however, little academic attention has been paid to how socioeconomic inequality shapes participation in local politics. This honors thesis fills a gap in the academic literature on participatory inequality, analyzing participatory trends in the small, rural town of Belgrade, ME. It quantitatively identifies variables that predict political involvement in small town government. Furthermore, it qualitatively explores the predictive capacity of certain variables, examining the intersection between social structure and lived experience. Ultimately, it argues that while variables like nativity slightly counterbalance the relationship between wealth and political involvement, participatory inequality in small town politics is still connected to socioeconomic inequality. Even in a small town, economically marginalized people are structurally excluded from politics, which suggests the extent to which democracy and pronounced socioeconomic inequality are incompatible.

Faculty Sponsor

Sandy Maisel

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Government Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Social Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1238

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Apr 30th, 1:25 PM Apr 30th, 2:25 PM

Socioeconomic Status and Political Participation in Belgrade, ME

Diamond 241

Political scientists have directed attention to participatory inequality in national and state politics in the U.S. Participation in almost every form of political activity in the U.S. is stratified by socioeconomic status. Put simply, the upper class is more likely than the lower class to be politically involved, which amplifies its political voice relative to that of the lower class. Participatory inequality in national and state politics is stark; however, little academic attention has been paid to how socioeconomic inequality shapes participation in local politics. This honors thesis fills a gap in the academic literature on participatory inequality, analyzing participatory trends in the small, rural town of Belgrade, ME. It quantitatively identifies variables that predict political involvement in small town government. Furthermore, it qualitatively explores the predictive capacity of certain variables, examining the intersection between social structure and lived experience. Ultimately, it argues that while variables like nativity slightly counterbalance the relationship between wealth and political involvement, participatory inequality in small town politics is still connected to socioeconomic inequality. Even in a small town, economically marginalized people are structurally excluded from politics, which suggests the extent to which democracy and pronounced socioeconomic inequality are incompatible.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/305