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Afro-Caribbean Immigrants and the Politics of Incorporation
Ethnicity, Exception, or Exit

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  • Date Published: April 2006
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9780511166808

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the political behavior of Afro-Caribbean immigrants in New York City to answer a familiar, but nagging question about American democracy. Does racism still complicate or limit the political integration patterns of racial minorities in the United States? With the arrival of unprecedented numbers of immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean over the last several decades, there is reason once again to consider this question. The country is confronting the challenge of incorporating a steady, substantial stream of non-white, non-European voluntary immigrants into the political system. Will racism make this process as difficult for these newcomers as it did for African Americans? The book concludes discrimination does interfere with the immigrants' adjustment to American political life. But their political options and strategic choices in the face of this challenge are unexpected ones, not anticipated by standard accounts in the political science literature.

    • One of few books to focus specifically and extensively on the influence of race on the political adjustment patterns of a group of non-white immigrants
    • First book in over a decade to examine the political experiences of Afro-Caribbean immigrants
    • Focus on differences between native and foreign born among American black population
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    • Winner of the 2007 Best Book Award - Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This important book focuses our attention on an understudied population in American urban politics, Afro-Caribbeans in New York City. It depicts a more layered and nuanced empirical reality of contemporary racial-ethnic politics than even many close observers have recognized, and demonstrates that black politics is in significant ways yet more complex than it previously was. Accordingly, this rich, systematic analysis challenges scholars to revisit and reorient existing theoretical frameworks. Overall, it provides valuable insights about the political system's increasingly multiethnic qualities." Rodney E. Hero, University of Notre Dame

    "Are Afro-Caribbean immigrants to the United States black, or dark-skinned "white" ethnics, or what? The answer is both, and neither. Do pluralist theories of immigrant incorporation, or racial theories of black exclusion, best explain Afro-Caribbeans' entry into American politics? The answer again is both, and neither. Reuel Rogers mixes insightful analysis and fascinating interviews to explore these conundra, and to suggest political and analytic pathways out of them. Governmental institutions matter, as do parties' electoral incentives, groups' racial constructions, and individuals' sheer bloody-mindedness. The overall mix is fascinating, subtle, and terrifically important for America's future." Jennifer Hochschild, Harvard University

    "Rogers deftly illuminates the political manifestations of a tension in identities among Afro-Caribbean immigrants to the United States? Black but not African American; immigrant and Black. Marshalling multiple streams of empirical data, and engaging democratic theory, Rogers enlivens our understanding of immigrant political incorporation and accounts for unique configurations of Blackness in America. This work takes us beyond the 'black-white binary,' and toward more complex categories of ethnicity and race manifest in an increasingly multi-racial American polity." Jane Junn, Rutgers University

    "Rogers' empirically rich and nuanced study of the political experiences of Afro-Caribbean immigrants is a long overdue and important contribution to the field of political incorporation. Rogers convincingly demonstrates that the prevailing theoretical models of minority group political participation and immigrant political incorporation neither fully explain nor predict their experiences. Although Afro-Caribbean immigrants and black Americans share many common experiences and concerns, building political coalitions is often contentious, revealing that differences between the groups are more consequential than prevailing models suggest. And although in the past, politicians eagerly sought to include European immigrants in the political process, such enthusiasm is notably lacking in the case of Afro-Caribbean immigrants. Rogers' excellent book is a timely exploration of enduring American realities - immigration and race - with new and compelling insights." Melissa Nobles, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    "What roles will non-white immigrants play in 21st century American politics? Few questions are so important; and the decisions of Afro-Caribbeans, often portrayed as the "black model minority," have special significance. Some say they will follow the assimilationist patterns of earlier European immigrants. Others think they will join the 'linked fate' of native-born African-Americans. Reuel Rogers' fascinating and path-breaking study of Afro-Caribbeans in New York shows that neither view is likely to be correct. Instead, they are choosing new and important forms of political engagement, to which Afro-Caribbean Immigrants and the Politics of Incorporation is now our best guide." Rogers M. Smith, University of Pennsylvania

    "This excellent book on the political incorporation of non-white immigrants in New York City is a welcomed addition to literatures in political science, urban studies, sociology, and African American Studies. It is carefully written, well-documented, and persuasive in its arguments about the numerous challenges facing immigrants of color. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in race, immigration, ethnic conflict, and urban politics. It is a must read for those interested in race and racism in America." Carol Swain, Vanderbilt University

    "Reuel Rogers has written a theoretically sophisticated, exhaustively researched, and brilliantly argued account of the political incorporation of Afro Caribbeans in New York City. This is an indispensable guide to how race affects political life for new immigrants from the Caribbean. Rogers interviews with politicians and ordinary people shows how Afro Caribbeans navigate the complex mine field of American race relations. This analysis provides a fresh approach to the important question of how new immigrants are becoming Americans." Mary C. Waters, Harvard University

    "...the book represents a significant contribution to the study of immigrant (ethnic) and minority politics in New York and the United States. It draws on excellent work by...others on Afro-Caribbean identity and adjustment in New York, but goes considerably beyond, contributing originally to understanding the broader political picture, emphasizing how institutions, group experiences, and racial and ethnic constructions and self-constructions all matter."
    Kenneth Waltzer, Michigan State University, Perspectives on Politics

    "Afro-Caribbean Immigrants and the Politics of Incorporation makes important conceptual advances in the study of immigrant politics. It is a very strong and convincing critique of the pluralist and minority group models. Rogers provides a dynamic and context-contingent notion of political incorporation that emphasizes the process of political socialization and not simply the assumed outcomes of incorporation, i.e. naturalization and electoral participation."
    Patricia Landolt, University of Toronto, Canadian Journal of Sociology Online

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2006
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511166808
    • contains: 15 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Beyond black and white theories of political incorporation
    2. 'Good' blacks and 'bad' blacks?
    3. Letting sleeping giants lie
    4. Afro-Caribbean immigrants and African Americans racially bound and ethnically splintered
    5. Afro-Caribbean sojourners
    6. Black like who? Afro-Caribbean immigrants, African Americans, and the politics of group identity
    7. Black ethnic options

  • Author

    Reuel R. Rogers, Northwestern University, Illinois
    Reuel R. Rogers is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. His general field of study is American Politics and his specialized research and teaching interests are race, ethnicity, urban politics, immigration, political behavior, and African American politics. He has published articles in journals such as Urban Affairs Review and Political Behavior, as well as essays in edited volumes. He completed this book during a year-long fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Professor Rogers has also held graduate fellowships with the Social Science Research Council and the Ford Foundation. He is a professional member of the American Political Science Association and the Midwest Political Science Association.


    • Winner of the 2007 Best Book Award - Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association
    • Winner of the 2007 Best Book Award - Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association

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