Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Elena P. Bastidas

Third Advisor

Judith McKay


engagement, grounded theory, immigrant, Latin American, registered, voting


One of the most important characteristics of a democracy is the ability of its citizens to directly elect many of their government representatives. Unfortunately, since only citizens are traditionally eligible to vote in the United States, the group of voters that ultimately influences government is smaller than the overall population. That excludes immigrants from full participation in government and contributes to conflict, which can be analyzed through various theoretical lenses, such as structural violence, basic human needs theory, and social cohesion. These realities underscore the importance of elections and of ensuring that an engaged and informed electorate is active in the voting process. They also point to the need for research on voter engagement. Since not everyone who can vote does, this study focuses on how registered Latin American immigrant voters feel about voting, what influences their voting behavior, and what conflicts they might experience. Specifically, the thoughts and experiences of registered voters from the Latin American immigrant community in and around Somerville, MA, was explored through a grounded theory approach, and the research resulted in three main themes – identity, skepticism, and acculturation – that are related to voter engagement. The resulting data can be used by governments and advocacy groups to help develop strategies and interventions designed to increase overall voter engagement. Additionally, it provides greater context to the voting attitudes of the Latin American community and insights into increasing engagement and reducing the potential for conflict.

Included in

Sociology Commons