Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

Counselor Education

First Advisor

Joshua M Gold

Abstract

For the past several decades, social scientists have reported a growing interest in relationships among social, cultural, and ideological factors contributing to political partisanship. To date, most studies related to political identification have drawn from large national databases, using quantitative methods focused on assessing political preferences, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, in order to understand mass perceptions and predict future political behaviors. This study sought to expand on and further enlighten research into the area of political party self-identification, as it is confounded by racial/cultural identity, personal ideology, and other social and political factors specific to African American Republicans. A qualitative research design, with a phenomenological approach to data collection, analysis, and interpretation, was used to explore the deeper issue of meaning that African American Republicans may find in their sociopolitical experience of partisan self-identification. Theories of social identity and group belonging, as well as ideological alignment, have been linked to political partisanship and provided a theoretical foundation to initiate this exploration. Nine African American Republicans participated in a semi-structured interview process, and systematic analysis of their narrative stories maximized the opportunity to achieve accurate interpretations of data. The discoveries of this study provide valuable insights into the real-world sociopolitical experiences of a group of African American Republicans, generated a plausible theory grounded in their perceptions, and introduced new information that can inform the field of counseling and stimulate future research.

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