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Gaining VoiceThe Causes and Consequences of Black Representation in the American States$
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Christopher J. Clark

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190933562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190933562.001.0001

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A Multifaceted Approach to the Study of Black Descriptive Representation

A Multifaceted Approach to the Study of Black Descriptive Representation

(p.1) 1 A Multifaceted Approach to the Study of Black Descriptive Representation
Gaining Voice

Christopher J. Clark

Oxford University Press

This chapter motivates the book’s importance, talking specifically about the relevance of a multifaceted approach to the study of black state legislators in the 21st century. The descriptive representation framework used to study black representation is mentioned. The two-part organization of the book is explained, with the first portion considering the causes of black descriptive representation and the latter portion examining the consequences of black descriptive representation. Moreover, the underlying research questions motivating the book, namely whether black people alone explain the black presence in the state legislature and whether the positive consequences of black representation in the state legislature outweigh the negative ones, are discussed. Synopses of the various theoretical claims are provided. The chapter discusses relevant extant literature on minority representation, identity caucuses, policy representation, political involvement, public opinion, and state politics. The data and methods employed in the book are discussed, and the chapter ends with an overview of each book chapter.

Keywords:   black state legislator, descriptive representation, multifaceted, voting, state politics, voice, public opinion, caucus, policy representation, cause and consequence

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