Three Essays on Hispanics: the Use of Spanish, Content Analysis and Social Network Analysis
Hispanic political representation continues to grow in the United States. Understanding how Hispanic politicians communicate is an important step in having a better picture of how Hispanic politicians operate in Congress. It also allows us to understand what lies behind policies that are most salient for this community. This research adds to our knowledge of how Hispanic Members of Congress communicate by focusing on their use of social media. To do so this research is divided into three main sections and uses original datasets created by the author. Specifically, this research uses Twitter data by the official Twitter Accounts of Hispanic Members of Congress. Using an Application Programming Interface, this research analyzes all tweets by these politicians. Using Content Analysis, in the first section of this dissertation, I explore what factors contribute to the use of Spanish by Hispanic Members of Congress. This section explores the cultural, historical, and political factors that can be enabled to better understand how language is used by minority populations such as the Hispanic. The second section of this research also uses Content Analysis. It focuses on analyzing the connection between the historical background of the three major subpopulations of Hispanics: Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Mexicans and their policy goals. This research shows that Hispanics should not be understood to be a homogenous population but rather a conglomeration of nations and cultures which Speak Spanish. The last section of this dissertation uses Social Network Analysis to understand what factors best explain the dynamics of communication between Hispanic Members of Congress. This last section presents compelling evidence that communication between Hispanic Members of Congress should be understood to respond to political factors.