Political fragmentation in a Mexican American community : The case of Houston, Texas



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In the embryonic stages of ethnic politics, conflict plays a major role In the orientation of the ethnic group toward political activity and organization. Utilizing the concept of conflict, then, as the broad framework for this study, the focus of this analysis was on the specific patterns of fragmentation that exist in the Mexican American community In Houston, Texas. Specific patterns of fragmentation were investigated and delineated. Believing that fragmentation and conflict are brought to the forefront by organizational activity, an analysis of three Mexican American organizations-a political organization, a social-civic organization, and a community action organization-was undertaken. To reinforce this mode of analysis, a second technique was used-a content analysis of two Spanish-English newspapers operating In the community. This case study focused on the year 1968 and on several key symbols which reflected some type of political fragmentation. The twofold approach to the problem of community political fragmentation brought Into sharp focus several characteristics of Mexican American political life. Inter- and intra-organlzational patterns and relationships Indicated the difficulty encountered by Mexican American organizations In attempting to organize for effective political action. The content analysis spelled out the direction and Intensity of political fragmentation found In the community. Perhaps some aspects of this analysis have served to illustrate the type of problems encountered by the Mexican American group while operating politically, not only within their own group, but In the broader community as well.



Mexican Americans, Political conflict