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In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
This article uses a political developmental approach to examine African American poll-tax registration and voting in Virginia from 1940 to 1954. Using the concept of multiple orders, the article traces how changes in the state's political system of managed race relations created an opening for African American political mobilization. The Virginia Voters League (VVL), in alliance with other African American political, civic, and social organizations, conducted voter education and poll-tax payment campaigns in order foster political efficacy among the state's disenfranchised black voters. The VVL met with mixed success, affected by past political mobilizations, the impact of NAACP mobilization, and local and statewide political competition between the state's main political machine and insurgents. The VVL campaign was successful in achieving short-term victories, including the election of a few African Americans to local office. By 1954, the VVL's internal weakness coupled with the emergence of “massive resistance” stymied further black electoral mobilization through politics and made protest a more viable option for achieving political and civil rights for black Virginians. By tracing the path from politics to protest, this article shows how a political developmental approach can be successfully used to develop a nuanced understanding of the emergence of the civil rights movement and Southern politics in the pre–Brown v. Board of Education era.
This article argues that African American hair is a political matter by examining the little-known role of state occupational licensing of African American hair care. By focusing on recent legal challenges and legislative battles over state regulation of hair-care provision for African Americans, the article traces state authorities' responses to struggles over market share between licensed, and often native-born, African American beauticians, and typically unlicensed, and often recent African immigrant, hair braiders. Hair braiders challenged state regulatory oversight by invoking racial deference claims, in which they argued that braiding was a “cultural practice” that should be exempt from state regulation. A statistical analysis of state regulatory decision making revealed that states varied widely in addressing the issue of African American hair care. While racial deference claims, in the form of legal cases, put pressure on states to exempt hair braiders from regulatory oversight, by and large, most states did not choose this path. For states that did choose to address the demands for market protection or market relief, the choices were mostly in the direction of enacting new regulations or actively incorporating hair braiders under existing regulations. Despite the invocation of racial deference claims, African American hair care was not freed from state oversight—state regulators became more flexible in their oversight of Black hair care rooted in their concerns over public safety as well as the demands from a variety of interest groups. The analysis reveals that when race/gender and state regulation intersect, traditional economic theories of occupational licensing are not sufficient; an intersectional approach can better explain policy outcomes.
One of the key questions posed by analysts of modern, twentieth-century agricultural politics is, “How and when did agrarian democracy end and the dominance of agribusiness interests begin?” In this article I argue that the roots of this transformation lie in the origins of the agricultural welfare state and the overlapping of its birth with distinct eras in America's racial orders—those moments in time when political players mobilized coalitions and institutions around racial issues such as slavery, Reconstruction, or the segregated state of the Jim Crow order. As a result of these historical overlaps, the agricultural welfare state was shaped in surprising and not-well-understood ways by America's racial orders. In order to trace these two intertwining aspects of racial governance and agricultural welfare state development, I provide a reinterpretation of the development of the agricultural welfare state from its Civil War origins to its New Deal transformation. I show that, from 1865 to 1964, the confluence of racial orders, partisan alignments, and congressional orders created an agricultural welfare state in which African Americans were variously included and excluded in a pattern of “two-tier” citizenship. The broader racial governance aims of the Jim Crow order also had a significant role in shaping the development of the organizational ethos and administrative structures and practices within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The practice of “two-tier” agricultural citizenship, which initially affected only African American and other minority farmers, was gradually extended to reflect the divide between large commercial farmers and the rural poor (including small farmers). The results from this analysis strengthen our understanding of how the American welfare state has been shaped—in particular, the ways in which racial governance and racial orders are deeply embedded in the American state building process.
White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism. By Kevin M. Kruse. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. 352p. $35.00 cloth, $18.95 paper.
The South is a region of many myths, and Kevin Kruse takes on one of the most durable of them: Atlanta as the “city too busy to hate.” Kruse finds that Atlanta, like many other southern and northern cities in the postwar era, was a city in which “race and residence stood at the forefront of [Atlanta's] racial politics” (p. 42). He traces the ultimately unsuccessful efforts of Mayor William Hartsfield's biracial, elite-controlled regime to manage the struggle between whites and blacks over urban space. White flight, the decades-long movement of whites to the Atlanta suburbs, was not only the result of this struggle over space; it was also the source of a new form of southern white conservatism based on whites' resentful exit from the urban South. For political scientists, this book is a reminder of the “long civil rights movement,” that began in the 1940s, before the Brown decision, and extended throughout the 1970s. At the local level, the Civil Rights movement was a struggle over politics that earlier political scientists would be quick to understand and appreciate: a struggle over who gets what, when, where, and how. By taking an in-depth yet rigorous look at southern politics that goes beyond the limitations of National Election Study data or roll-call votes, the book provides valuable historical context to recent works on the transformation of southern politics.
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