Sociology Colloquium Series Series Presents: Dr. Angela Garcia
Colloquia Title and Topic:
"Strategic Systems Seeking: When and Why Marginalized Communities Seek Out the State"
People who experience exclusion from the state disproportionally view government as a punitive, surveilling force rather than a benevolent service provider. Marginalized groups—from undocumented immigrants to people involved in the criminal-legal system—thus commonly avoid government and its associated record-keeping systems. At the same time, marginalized communities disproportionately rely on government for essential services. In light of this contradictory relationship, when and why do people who face overlapping systems of marginalization seek out the state? This study develops a relational framework of engagement, arguing that, because marginalized residents have strong incentives to identify needed and low-threat supports, they respond to policies designed around administrative justice—an approach that seeks to attenuate inequitable constituent-state interactions. We apply this relational framework to Chicago’s municipal ID program, CityKey, which launched in 2018. Analyzing interviews (N=196) with ID program enrollees, the study argues that the program’s administrative justice policy design induces strategic system seeking among a diverse set of marginalized communities. This study contributes to scholarship on inequality and policy feedback effects, elucidating the strategic behavior of marginalized groups and the key role of cities in promoting inclusion in the broader polity.Join us virtually