'Habitual Power, Transnational Identity and Electoral Participation of Ethnic Chinese in New Zealand'

A Political Science and International Relations Programme seminar.

'Habitual Power, Transnational Identity and Electoral Participation of Ethnic Chinese in New Zealand'

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Event type: Seminars

15 August 2018 from 1.10 pm - 2.00 pm 15th Aug 2018 1:10pm 15th Aug 2018 2:00pm

Murphy Building (MY) LT 102

No RSVP required

Speaker: Jie Huang, PhD student in Political Science


Political integration of immigrants into the host country is part of a test as to how well a democratic society copes with diversity. This research focuses on Chinese immigrants, and their electoral participation in New Zealand.

In the pilot statistical analysis, I find that the turnout rate of ethnic Chinese is the lowest of all categories, among both recently-arrived immigrants and the general population. This finding implies that there could exist a continuous disadvantage in voting among ethnic Chinese. This disadvantage, if true, would engender three research questions. First, what results in such a disadvantage? Second, how much does exposure to New Zealand’s social-political contexts serve to diminish this disadvantage? Third, to what extent is the effect of socio-political exposure on voting mediated by the individuals’ social-psychological characteristics (for example, civic orientations and possible changes in national identity)?

In order to answer above questions, this work uses Mark Franklin’s turnout theory, and makes it more convincing to explain immigrant electoral participation. Franklin’s theory highlights the effect of voting (or nonvoting) habits on electoral behaviour. With this in mind, I hypothesize that there could exist “nonvoting inertia” among ethnic Chinese who have no or few experiences with voting before arrival. Franklin’s theory also emphasizes the effect of socio-political contexts on an individual’s cost-benefit calculus of voting. It is hypothesized that a lack of interaction with New Zealand’s mainstream society and/or New Zealand’s political system could make ethnic Chinese less likely to vote. Moreover, the contours, sources and mediating effects of psychological variables will be investigated by using the statistical technique of structural equation modelling (SEM).

The “habit” approach is a new theoretical framework that serves to explain immigrant voting participation. Further, the application of various modelling techniques, such as the SEM, will provide strong validity to draw outcomes.

No RSVP required