Title

Opportunity, Resources, and Threat: Explaining Local Nativist Organizing in the United States

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-7-2016

Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Abstract

I examine variation in nativist organizing through an analysis of the number of nativist organizations in U.S. counties. I make two primary contributions to literatures on anti-immigrant phenomena and right-wing mobilization. First, I investigate the extent to which theories of threat, in addition to resource mobilization and political opportunity theories, further our understandings of nativist mobilization. Pro-immigrant oppositional activism and racist hate resource and organizational bases facilitate this mobilization, whereas a weak economic base, growing working-class base, and increasing Latino political representation constrain it. In addition, the association between nativist mobilization and Latino population change, as well as conservative voting, is curvilinear (inverted U). Nativist mobilization thrives in the presence of low-to-moderate levels of demographic threat, as well as in contexts in which political conservatism is present but weak enough to make the conservative, nativist identity nonnormative. Second, few studies examine nonattitudinal or noninstitutionalized anti-immigrant phenomena. There is little understanding of whether or not social structures facilitating anti-immigrant attitudes and institutionalized anti-immigrant activity similarly influence the presence of anti-immigrant mobilization. Although results suggest that political and cultural threats shape diverse anti-immigrant phenomena, I also point to a unique set of structural conditions beyond threat to explain nativist mobilization in particular.

Publication Title

Sociological Perspectives

Volume

60

Issue

3

First Page

1

Last Page

20

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