Electoral Politics Is Not Enough

Racial and Ethnic Minorities and Urban Politics

By Peter F. Burns

Subjects: Urban Studies
Series: SUNY series in Urban Public Policy, SUNY series in African American Studies
Paperback : 9780791466544, 204 pages, June 2006
Hardcover : 9780791466537, 204 pages, January 2006

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Table of contents


1. Representation of Minority Interests

2. Variation among the Northeastern Cities

3. Awareness of African American and Latino Policy Preferences

4. Responsiveness to African American and Latino Interests

5. How African Americans and Latinos Gain Policy Responsiveness

6. Urban Regime Theory and the Representation of Minority Interests

Appendix A: Interview Questions
Appendix B: List of Issue-Area Categories
Appendix C: List of Interviews


Examines how and why government leaders understand and respond to African Americans and Latinos in northeastern cities with strong political traditions.


Focusing on four medium-sized northeastern cities with strong political traditions, Electoral Politics Is Not Enough analyzes conditions under which white leaders respond to and understand minority interests. Peter F. Burns argues that conventional explanations, including the size of the minority electorate, the socioeconomic status of the citizenry, and the percentage of minority elected officials do not account for variations in white leaders' understanding of and receptiveness toward African American and Latino interests. Drawing upon interviews with more than 200 white and minority local leaders, and through analysis of local education and public safety policies, he finds that unconventional channels, namely neighborhood groups and community-based organizations, strongly influence the representation of minority interests.

Peter F. Burns is Associate Professor of Political Science at Loyola University New Orleans.