Along with their socio-economic resources, the “strong ties” of individuals’ family and friends are key predictors of political engagement. But most interactions in individuals’ daily lives are with acquaintances, colleagues at work, and neighbors. How do these “weak ties” shape individuals’ political participation? Using decoded census and voting data, and drawing on a unique dataset of city permits for neighborhood “block parties” in Philadelphia over time, this project explores the ways one-off community events that draw neighbors together — such as block parties — and access to public space — such as public parks — together with denser neighborhoods, influence individuals’ voting behavior. Analyses of these data suggest that even casual interaction among individuals in shared public space is positively associated with civic engagement.
Michael Jones-Correa (Ph.D., Princeton University) is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Political Science and director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Immigration (CSERI) at the University of Pennsylvania. He taught previously at Harvard and at Cornell, where he served as the Robert J. Katz Chair of the Department of Government. He is a co-author of Holding Fast: Resilience and Civic Engagement Among Latino Immigrants (Russell Sage, 2020), Latinos in the New Millennium (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Latino Lives in America: Making It Home (Temple University Press, 2010), the author of Between Two Nations: The Political Predicament of Latinos in New York City (Cornell University Press, 1998), the editor of Governing American Cities: Inter-Ethnic Coalitions, Competition and Conflict (Russell Sage 2001) and co-editor of Outsiders No More? Models of Immigrant Political Incorporation (Oxford University Press, 2013). He has published numerous articles and book chapters.
Jones-Correa is a co-principal investigator of the 2006 Latino National Survey, a national state-stratified survey of Latinos in the United States; the 2012 and 2016 Latino Immigrant National Election Study, and the Philadelphia-Atlanta Project, a collaborative research project on contact, trust and civic participation among immigrant and native-born residents of Philadelphia and Atlanta. His research has received support from the Carnegie, Ford, MacArthur, Robert Wood Johnson, Russell Sage and National Science foundations, among others. Jones-Correa was the team leader and ISS fellow for the 2010-13 theme project “Immigration: Settlement, Immigration and Membership,” at the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell. Jones-Correa has been a visiting fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation in 1998-99, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2003-04, and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University in 2009-10. In 2004-05 he served on the Committee on the Redesign of U.S. Naturalization Test for the National Academy of Sciences, in 2009 was elected as vice president of the American Political Science Association, from 2010-13 served on the American National Election Studies (ANES) Board of Overseers, and from 2016-20 on the council of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). He currently serves as chair of the board of trustees of the Russell Sage Foundation.