Blessing La Política
The Latino Religious Experience and Political Engagement in the United States
by Carlos Vargas-Ramos and Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo, Editors
April 2012, 224pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39389-1
$53, £40, 45€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39390-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In the United States, there is a belief that Latin Americans are less likely to become politically involved given their largely Catholic faith. However, Catholicism does not affect negatively the political behavior of Latinos, but rather tends to promote their political engagement. The political mobilization of Latinos and Latinas is well underway, and this movement’s tremendous energy is being transmitted through its churches.

An essential guide to the new face of electoral politics in America, this book provides an examination of the political mobilization of Latinos and Latinas through the churches and the influence of being of the Catholic faith, enabling an understanding of the social and cultural dynamics at play.

Blessing La Política: The Latino Religious Experience and Political Engagement in the United States presents a corrective challenge to the authoritative conclusion by the book Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics that Latinos are less likely to become involved in politics because of the predominant Catholic beliefs of this demographic. Through comprehensive analysis of the political tendencies of Latinos and Latinas of faith, the findings in this work consistently counterpoint those conclusions from a variety of perspectives and methodologies.

The research presented in the book comprises surveys that are national in scope—both of elites, and at the mass level—as well as localized in cities. The authors have also collected ethnographies that are localized in U.S. cities and transnational in nature. The result is both a broad view of Latino politics and religion, and detailed information that provides far more context that is possible in national-level quantitative studies.

Carlos Vargas-Ramos is research associate at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at the City University of New York, Hunter College. He is author of Migration and Political Behavior: The Political Incorporation of Puerto Rican Return Migrants; and the articles "Black, Trigueño, White … ? Shifting Racial Identification among Puerto Ricans" in Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race and "Caribbeans in New York: Political Participation, Strategic Cooperation and the Prospect of Pan-ethnic Political Mobilization in the Diaspora" in Caribbean Studies.

Anthony Stevens-Arroyo is professor emeritus of Puerto Rican and Latino studies at the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. First president of the Program for the Analysis of Religion Among Latinos/as (PARAL), he was also founder and director of the Center for the Study of Religion in Society and Culture (RISC) at Brooklyn College where he conducted the PARAL Study. Stevens-Arroyo is author of the landmark of Catholic studies, Prophets Denied Honor; was editor of the four-volume PARAL series on Latino religion; coauthored Recognizing The Latino Resurgence In U.S. Religion: The Emmaus Paradigm; and has published more than 40 scholarly articles.
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