Title: Turn On, Tune In, Turn Out: Ethnic Radio and Immigrants’ Political Engagement
Abstract: The concern that maintenance of distinctive cultural identities promotes the marginalization of minority immigrants into ethnic enclaves, limiting their participation with larger society has been present for the last half century. However, advocates of multiculturalism suggest that cultural maintenance helps immigrants enter mainstream societal institutions and feel welcome within them once they are there, promoting their participation. In response to growing recognition of the value of multiculturalist policies, in 2004 the UK Parliament enacted the Community Radio Order to allow the licensing of community radio stations. Leveraging the introduction of this law and geographical variation in the distribution of licenses, I show that the exposure of minority ethnic immigrants to radio programming targeted at their community promotes their electoral participation. Exposed communities are not more informed about institutions, but they express more political interest, suggesting that immigrants’ participation in politics is stimulated by accommodating diversity within common institutions.
The event is online only.