Seminar in Political Participation [DRAFT]

POS 6933 (2A41) / POS 4931 (2B41)

Class Periods:   Mondays 8-10 periods; 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET

Location:   Zoom (id circulated in Canvas)

Academic Term:  Fall 2020

 

Instructor:

Michael D. Martinez 

martinez@ufl.edu

(352) 273-2363 (infrequently monitored in Fall 2020)

Office Hours:   Wednesdays, 9:00 am – 11:00 ET, Zoom id 920-434-7071

Course Description

This seminar will review the scholarly literature on political participation and provide students with the theoretical background and empirical tools to write a research paper about the subject . (3 credit hours)

Course Pre-Requisites / Co-Requisites

Completion of or current enrollment in a graduate or undergraduate course in a social science Research Methods course is strongly recommended. 

Course Objectives

(1)  To review the scholarly literature on political participation in the United States and in some non-US settings. 

 

(2)  To provide students with empirical tools to conduct basic secondary analysis of data which addresses the conditions that foster (or inhibit) political participation.

Required Books

·         Students may access these books in any format of their choosing.  All are available as E-books at the UF Library, but just as with a physical book, there may be limits on how many people can access the book at any given time.  E-books and physical books are also available for purchase at Amazon and other retailers. The ISBN numbers below refer to physical books.

·         Fraga, Bernard L.  2018.  The Turnout Gap: Race, Ethnicity, and Political Inequality in a Diversifying America.  New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. ISBN-10: 1108465927

·         Green, Donald P., and Alan S. Gerber.  2019.  Get out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout.  4th ed.  Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press. ISBN-10: 0815736932

·         Holbein, John B., and D. Sunshine Hillygus.  2019.  Making Young Voters: Converting Civic Attitudes into Civic Action.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  ISBN-10: 110872633X

·         Leighley, Jan E., and Jonathan Nagler.  2013.  Who Votes Now?: Demographics, Issues, Inequality and Turnout in the United States.  Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN-10: 0691159351

Recommended Books

·         Wolfinger, Raymond E., and Steven J. Rosenstone.  1980.  Who Votes?  New Haven: Yale University Press.

·         Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady.  1995.  Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 

Recommended Materials

·         Each student is expected to have access to a basic statistical software package (SPSS, Stata, or R) and a familiarity with how to do basic analyses (reading data, frequencies and crosstabs).

·         All are available for free on UF Apps.

·         R is freely downloadable at https://cloud.r-project.org/

·         SPSS is available for lease at https://onthehub.com/spss/

·         Stata is available for lease at https://www.stata.com/order/new/edu/gradplans/student-pricing/

Attendance Policy, Class Expectations, and Make-Up Policy

 

Attendance in the Zoom class meetings with camera turned on is required in each seminar meeting. In order to encourage open discussion and out of respect for all students’ privacy, Zoom class meetings will not be recorded.

 

The weekly meetings of the seminar should be viewed as opportunities for the exchange of ideas among scholars. You may, on occasion, be able to tell that I am the leader of the seminar, but its overall success depends on the informed participation of everyone. Each student is expected to have completed the readings for the week, and to have something to say about those readings when seminar begins.  Participation will be evaluated based on listening (attentiveness), preparation for class discussion, quality of the contributions, and impact on the class.

 

Students who can reasonably anticipate an absence must inform the instructor by email as soon as practical and prior to the anticipated absence. Absences from seminar may be excused with documentation of a University, military, or legal obligation, illness, or bereavement. 

Course Structure

 

This course is divided into a prologue, four modules, and an epilogue. In the first week in each module, we will read a set of articles and chapters that explore different aspects of the main question. In the second week, we will discuss a contemporary book and how well it synthesizes, challenges, or advances the perspectives of the authors in the preceding week. In the third week, students will present some basic empirical analyses of secondary data showing the basic relationships discussed in the previous two weeks.

 

In the third week of each module, each student will either

 

·         Submit an essay (of about four pages) which synthesizes and critiques the readings addressed in the previous two weeks.  Essays should note the major theoretical questions addressed by the book and the articles, substantive or methodological innovations or controversies, and propose research questions that emanate from this set of readings or discuss how the ideas in the book and articles can be applied by government or political actors (including campaigns).

 

·         An empirical analysis of secondary data that focuses on the major questions addressed in the literature, and how the relationships might vary over time, across space, or across different groups. 

Essays and empirical analyses are due on Canvas at 5 pm on the day before seminar.  Students who do empirical analyses for that week will present their findings in the seminar.

In each module, each student will decide whether s/he will submit an essay or an empirical analysis. But over the course of the semester, each student will write two essays and present two empirical analyses.

 


 

MA and PhD students will present (on December 7) a final paper, formatted as one of the following:

·         A research proposal that reviews and synthesizes literature on aspect of political participation, proposes an empirical research question, and presents preliminary research findings on that question.  This may be a chapter of an MA thesis or PhD dissertation. (Expected length: 15 to 20 pp, plus tables and references)

·         A mobilization plan for a campaign, outlining a Get-Out-The-Vote strategy and an assessment plan to determine whether the strategy worked.

 

·         A letter to a campaign consultant, which explains in layman's terms how the literature on political participation can inform a modern political campaign or communication strategy.  This is not intended to be a campaign plan, nor is it a memo about how to win a particular campaign.  Rather, it should be constructed as reading material for a major political or communications consultant who is beginning a reflection after campaign season on how s/he might use the political participation literature to think about campaign strategy or message strategy. (12 to 15 pp.)

·         In either format, the final paper will be due on December 14 at noon.

Evaluation (POS 4931)

 

Assignment

Percentage of Final Grade

Due Date

Participation and attendance in seminars

20%

Weekly

Module 1 essay or empirical analysis

20%

September 27

Module 2 essay or empirical analysis

20%

October 18

Module 3 essay or empirical analysis

20%

November 8

Module 4 essay or empirical analysis

20%

November 29

Total

100%

 

 

Evaluation (POS 6933)

Assignment

Percentage of Final Grade

Due Date

Participation and attendance in seminars

20%

Weekly

Module 1 essay or empirical analysis

15%

September 27

Module 2 essay or empirical analysis

15%

October 18

Module 3 essay or empirical analysis

15%

November 8

Module 4 essay or empirical analysis

15%

November 29

Presentation of research paper / letter / plan

5%

December 7

Final submission of research paper / letter / plan

15%

December 14

Total

100%

 

Grading Policy

 

Percent

Grade

Grade Points

 

Percent

Grade

Grade Points

90.0 - 100.0

A

4.00

 

72.0 – 74.9

C

2.00

87.0 - 89.9

A-

3.67

 

69.0 - 71.9

C-

1.67

84.0 - 86.9

B+

3.33

 

66.0 - 68.9

D+

1.33

81.0 - 83.9

B

3.00

 

63.0 - 65.9

D

1.00

78.0 - 80.9

B-

2.67

 

60.0 - 62.9

D-

0.67

75.0 - 79.9

C+

2.33

 

0 - 59.9

E

0.00

 

More information on UF grading policy may be found at:

UF Graduate Catalog
Grades and Grading Policies

Course Schedule

 

Prologue: What is political participation?

 

August 31:         

 

McDonald, Michael P. and Samuel L. Popkin. 2001.  "The Myth of the Vanishing Voter."  American Political Science Review 95 (4, December): 963-974.

 

Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady.  1995.  Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.  Chapter 2.

 

Introduction to Datasets

 

September 7: Labor Day Holiday

 


 

Module 1:           Does education matter?

 

In this module, we will review the empirical relationships between formal levels of education and political participation, arguments about whether that relationship is spurious, and which aspects of education are most important in promoting civic participation.

 

September 14:  Articles and chapters

 

Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady.  1995.  Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.  Chapters 11-12.

 

Kam, Cindy D. and Carl L. Palmer. 2008. "Reconsidering the Effects of Education on Political Participation," Journal of Politics 70 (3, July): 612-631.

 

Condon, M.  2015.  "Voice Lessons: Rethinking the Relationship between Education and Political Participation."  Political Behavior 37: 819-43.

 

Mendelberg, Tali, Vittorio Mérola, Tanika Raychaudhuri, and Adam Thal.  2020.  "When Poor Students Attend Rich Schools: Do Affluent Social Environments Increase or Decrease Participation?".  Perspectives on Politics.

 

Croke, K., G. Grossman, H. A. Larreguy, and J. Marshall.  2016.  "Deliberate Disengagement: How Education Can Decrease Political Participation in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes."  American Political Science Review 110: 579-600.

 

September 21:  Book discussion

Holbein and Hillygus.  2019.  Making Young Voters: Converting Civic Attitudes into Civic Action.

 

September 28:  Empirical analyses

 

Pick a dataset, and show the basic bivariate relationship between formal education and participation in that dataset.  Answer one other question:  Does that relationship vary …?

·         Across time?  Is the relationship between education and participation getting stronger or weaker?

·         Across space? Is the relationship between education and participation stronger in some countries or states than others?

·         Across people? Is the relationship stronger for men than women, older people than younger people, whites or minorities?

·         Across modes of participation?  Is the relationship stronger for voting than it is for other forms of participation?

 

 

 


 

Module 2:           Do institutions matter?

 

In this module, we will review the literature on how institutions, registration laws, and recent “reforms” affect rates of participation.

 

October 5:          Articles

 

Wolfinger, Raymond E. and Steven J. Rosenstone. 1980. Who Votes? New Haven: Yale University Press.  Chapter 4.

 

Powell, G. Bingham, Jr. 1986. "American Turnout in Comparative Perspective." American Political Science Review 80 (1, March): 17-44.

 

Berinsky, Adam J.  2005.  "The Perverse Consequences of Electoral Reform in the United States."  American Politics Research 33: 471-91.

 

Gerber, Alan S., Gregory A. Huber, David Doherty, Conor M. Dowling, and Seth J. Hill. 2013. "Do Perceptions of Ballot Secrecy Influence Turnout? Results from a Field Experiment." American Journal of Political Science 57 (3):537-551.

 

Engstrom, Erik J. .2012. "The Rise and Decline of Turnout in Congressional Elections: Electoral Institutions, Competition, and Strategic Mobilization." American Journal of Political Science 56 (2, April): 373–386.

 

 

October 12:       Book discussion

Leighley and Nagler.  2013.  Who Votes Now?

 

October 19:       Empirical analyses

 

Pick a dataset, and show the basic bivariate relationship between institutions or laws and participation rates in that dataset.  Answer one other question:  Does that relationship vary …?

·         Across time?  Is the relationship between institutions or laws and participation rates getting stronger or weaker?

·         Across space? Is the relationship between institutions or laws and participation rates stronger in some countries or states than others?

·         Across people? Do institutions or laws have greater effects on poorer people than richer people, on minorities or whites, on men or women?

·         Across modes of participation?  Do institutions affect participation other than voting?

 

 


 

Module 3:           Do campaigns matter?

 

In this module, we will explore whether campaigns are effective in mobilizing their supporters, how they do it, and whether social media are effective modes of mobilization.

 

October 26:       Articles

 

Holbrook, Thomas M., and Scott D. McClurg. 2005. "The Mobilization of Core Supporters: Campaigns, Turnout, and Electoral Composition in United States Presidential Elections." American Journal of Political Science 49 (4):689-703.

Gray, Mark and Miki Caul. 2000. "Declining voter turnout in advanced industrial democracies, 1950 to 1997 - The effects of declining group mobilization." Comparative Political Studies 33 (9, November): 1091-1122.

Valenzuela, A. A., and M. R. Michelson.  2016.  "Turnout, Status, and Identity: Mobilizing Latinos to Vote with Group Appeals."  American Political Science Review 110: 615-30.

 

Bond, R.M. et al. 2012.  “A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization” Nature 489 (Issue 7415): 295-298. link

 

Larson, Jennifer M., Jonathan Nagler, Jonathan Ronen, and Joshua A. Tucker.  2019.  "Social Networks and Protest Participation: Evidence from 130 Million Twitter Users."  American Journal of Political Science 63: 690-705.

 

November 2:     Book Discussion

 

Green and Gerber.  2019.  Get out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout.

 

November 9:     Empirical analyses

 

Pick a dataset, and show the basic bivariate relationship between mobilization (or being contacted) and participation rates in that dataset.  Answer one other question:  Does that relationship vary …?

·         Across time?  Is the relationship between mobilization and participation getting stronger or weaker?

·         Across space? Is the relationship between mobilization and participation stronger in some settings than in others?

·         Across people? Does mobilization have greater effects on poorer people than richer people, on less or more educated people, on minorities or whites, on partisans or independents?

·         Across modes of participation?  Does mobilization affect participation other than voting?

 


 

Module 4:           Does race matter?

 

November 16:  Articles

 

Bobo, Lawrence and Franklin D. Gilliam. 1990. "Race, Sociopolitical Participation, and Black Empowerment." American Political Science Review 84 (2, June): 377-393.

 

Banducci, S. A., T. Donovan, and J. A. Karp. 2004. "Minority representation, empowerment, and participation." Journal of Politics 66 (2, May): 534-556.

 

Keele, Luke J., et al.  2017.  "Black Candidates and Black Turnout: A Study of Viability in Louisiana Mayoral Elections."  Journal of Politics 79: 780-91.

 

Anoll, A. P.  2018.  "What Makes a Good Neighbor? Race, Place, and Norms of Political Participation."  American Political Science Review 112: 494-508.

 

Shaw, Todd C., Kirk A. Foster, and Barbara Harris Combs.  2019.  "Race and Poverty Matters: Black and Latino Linked Fate, Neighborhood Effects, and Political Participation."  Politics, Groups, and Identities 7: 663-72.

 

November 23:  Book discussion

 

Fraga.  2018.  The Turnout Gap: Race, Ethnicity, and Political Inequality in a Diversifying America.

 

November 30:  Empirical analyses

 

Pick a dataset, and show the basic bivariate relationship between race or ethnicity and participation rates in that dataset.  Answer one other question:  Does that relationship vary …?

·         Across time?  Is the relationship between race or ethnicity and participation getting stronger or weaker?

·         Across space? Is the relationship between race or ethnicity and participation stronger in some countries or states than others?

·         Across people? Is the relationship between race or ethnicity and participation stronger or weaker among less or more educated people, among older people than younger people, among men or women?

·         Across modes of participation?  Does race affect participation other than voting?

 

Epilogue: Does Participation Matter?

 

December 7:     Articles

 

Lijphart, Arend. 1997. "Unequal Participation: Democracy's Unresolved Dilemma." American Political Science Review 91 (1, March): 1-14.

 

Martinez, Michael D. and Jeff Gill.  2005.   “The Effects of Turnout on Partisan Outcomes in U.S. Presidential Elections 1960-2000.”  Journal of Politics 67 (4, November): 1248-1274.

 

Graduate student presentations.

 

 

 


 

Students Requiring Accommodations

Students with disabilities who experience learning barriers and would like to request academic accommodations should connect with the Disability Resource Center. It is important for students to share their accommodation letter with their instructor and discuss their access needs, as early as possible in the semester.

Course Evaluation

Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing online evaluations. Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students on the Gator Evals page.

University Honesty Policy

UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” The Honor Code specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor or TAs in this class.

Software Use

All faculty, staff, and students of the University are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use.  Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator.  Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.  We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

Student Privacy

There are federal laws protecting your privacy with regards to grades earned in courses and on individual assignments.  For more information, please see the Notification to Students of FERPA Rights.

 

Out of respect for all students’ privacy, please do not record Zoom sessions.

Campus Resources:

Health and Wellness

U Matter, We Care:

If you or a friend is in distress, please contact umatter@ufl.edu or 352 392-1575 so that a team member can reach out to the student.

 

Counseling and Wellness Center: counseling.ufl.edu/cwc, and  392-1575; and the University Police Department: 392-1111 or 9-1-1 for emergencies.

 

Sexual Assault Recovery Services (SARS)

Student Health Care Center, 392-1161.

 

University Police Department at 392-1111 (or 9-1-1 for emergencies), or police.ufl.edu.

 

Academic Resources

E-learning technical support, 352-392-4357 (select option 2) or e-mail to Learning-support@ufl.edu.

 

Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392-1601.  Career assistance and counseling.

 

Library Support, Various ways to receive assistance with respect to using the libraries or finding resources.

 

Teaching Center, Broward Hall, 392-2010 or 392-6420. General study skills and tutoring.

 

Writing Studio, 302 Tigert Hall, 846-1138. Help brainstorming, formatting, and writing papers.

 

Student Complaints Campus

 

On-Line Students Complaints