Asian American Connective Action in the Age of Social Media

Civic Engagement, Contested Issues, and Emerging Identities

James S. Lai
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1909-5
Publication: Jan 22

HC: $104.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1908-8
Publication: Jan 22

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1910-1
Publication: Jan 22

224 pages
6 x 9
10 tables, 8 figures, 11 halftones

Examines how social media has changed the way Asian Americans participate in politics

Read Chapter 1 (PDF).

Description

Social media provides ethno-racial immigrant groups—especially those who cannot vote due to factors such as lack of citizenship and limited English proficiency—the ability to mobilize and connect around collective issues. Online spaces and discussion forums have encouraged many Asian Americans to participate in public policy debates and take action on social justice issues. This form of digital group activism serves as an adaptive political empowerment strategy for the fastest-growing and largest foreign-born population in America. Asian American Connective Action in the Age of Social Media illuminates how associating online can facilitate and amplify traditional forms of political action.

James Lai provides diverse case studies on contentious topics ranging from affirmative action debates to textbook controversies to emphasize the complexities, limitations, and challenges of connective action that is relevant to all racial groups. Using a detailed multi-methods approach that includes national survey data and Twitter hashtag analysis, he shows how traditional immigrants, older participants, and younger generations create online consensus and mobilize offline to foment political change. In doing so, Lai provides a nuanced glimpse into the multiple ways connective action takes shape within the Asian American community.

Reviews

“Lai’s timely book provides a nuanced analysis of the ideological and other divisions among Asian Americans, scrupulously refusing to homogenize or essentialize them. He uses the generative concept of ‘connective action’ to enhance our understanding of how social media participation has transformed Asian American civic engagement. Charting the political mobilization of first-generation, affluent Chinese Americans in support of conservative political causes, Lai’s argument that social media enables this largely foreign-born population with limited English proficiency to bypass formal organizations, develop new forms of collective action, and grow new subjectivities as political actors is persuasive and important.”
Claire Jean Kim, Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age

“In Asian American Connective Action in the Age of Social Media , James Lai convincingly shows why he is a leading scholar on Asian American and ethnic politics. Exploring the causal linkage between social media use and offline political mobilization in the immigrant-majority community, Lai breaks new ground in studying Asian American political behavior by combining case studies and elite interviews with Twitter hashtag analysis. Smartly labeling it as connective action, Lai argues that this relatively new form of political action has afforded the largely foreign-born and politically marginalized population a new tool to influence policy and politics.”
Pei-te Lien, Professor of Political Science and of Asian American Studies, Feminist Studies, and Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of The Making of Asian America through Political Participation

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

1. Logging On and Getting Civically Connected
2. The Racial Paradox and Emerging Political Contours of Asian Americans: How Connective Action Challenges and Amplifies Them
3. Conceptualizing a Model for Asian American Connective Action
4. Case Study 1: The 2016 Trial of New York Police Department Officer Peter Liang and the Connective Action Mobilization by First-Generation Chinese Americans
5. Case Study 2: The Asian American Community’s Online and Offline Affirmative Action Battle over the 2012 California Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 Bill
6. Case Study 3: Data Disaggregation and the 2016 California Assembly Bill 1726—How Connective Action Helped Determine the Narrative and Outcome
7. Case Study 4: The 18 Million Rising Website and Its Role as an Online Conduit for Progressive Asian American Activism
8. Case Study 5: The 2016 California Textbook Controversy— South Asian Americans and the #DontEraseIndia Campaign
9. Case Study 6: Establishing World War II Korean Comfort Women Memorials in U.S. Cities and the Online Mobilization against Them
10. On the Virtues and Perils of Asian American Connective Action

Notes
References
Index

About the Author(s)

James S. Lai is a Professor in the Ethnic Studies Department at Santa Clara University with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Political Science. He is the author of Asian American Political Action: Suburban Transformations and coeditor of Asian American Politics: Law, Participation, and Policy.


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