ASSIMILATION THROUGH THE BALLOT: HOW VOTING FACILITATES INTEGRATION INTO AMERICAN LIFE
Knowlton, Nicholas D.
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The United States has been colloquially considered a nation of immigrants. However, the subject of immigrant integration in the United States remains insufficiently explained. Prior research suggests an association between political participation and social integration within the American mainstream, but this relationship remains underexplored. This thesis investigates the relationship between political participation and integration, with particular reference to electoral participation and the act of voting. Drawing upon democratization literature, this thesis proposes a theory of integration through elections whereby electoral participation advances a newcomer's integration into their new host society. Through evaluating this theory of integration through elections within a mixed-methods research design, the results confirm a relationship between electoral participation and integration and suggest that electoral participation may facilitate the integration process. The results further contain implications for future studies of integration and for immigration policy in the United States.
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