The Ban on Mexican American Studies in Arizona: Scapegoating Education (81411)

Session Information: Immigration, Refugee, Race, Nation
Session Chair: Mark Beeman

Monday, 27 May 2024 12:45
Session: Session 2
Room: Room D (Live-Stream)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

In 2010 the Arizona State Legislature passed legislation effectively banning the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Program. State officials charged that the critical pedagogy program was divisive, immoral, hate-based, and seditious. Seven years later the courts overturned the ban finding that it was politically motivated. The ban was the first of several recent attempts to eliminate various aspects of diversity education in the United States. This paper analyzes the Arizona ban as a case study to advance ethnic scapegoating theory. The psychological focus of contemporary scapegoating theory is designed to explain individual acts of aggression, but it is not equipped to incorporate historical and structural factors that sociologists find necessary for understanding social problems. Case study methodology provides two important analytical strengths of central concern to the present study. First, it allows for historical and structural factors to be incorporated into the research, thus complying with the sociological imagination approach. Second, the case study provides empirical evidence independent from prior research making it effective in theory building, especially in developing new theoretical frameworks. The present case study historically contextualizes the Arizona ban by examining educational policy, audits, court records, legislative records, and media reports. The documents indicate that effective educational practices faced sustained organized political opposition in Arizona. Analysis of the empirical evidence shows that the scapegoating process involves normative and structural arrangements that lie outside the explanatory purview of existing psychologically grounded scapegoating theory. The findings provide a foundation for developing a structural-normative framework for scapegoating theory.

Mark Beeman, Northern Arizona University, United States

About the Presenter(s)
Dr. Mark Beeman, Professor of Sociology, teaches at Northern Arizona University. His research and teaching focus on race and ethnic relations. His recent work analyzes normative and structural factors involved in ethnic scapegoating.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00