Informal social ties and political activity in the metropolis

Avery M. Guest, R. S. Oropesa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This article focuses on the question of whether localized friendship patterns in the metropolis have much relationship with individual propensity to take action on localized political issues. Scholars of the classical Chicago School claim a close relationship between the two, whereas more contemporary theorists argue that social ties should have little relationship to political activity; rather, rational investments in community such as home ownerships and child rearing should be the clearly dominant correlates of political activity. Overall, our results do not strongly support either perspective. We suggest and find support for a balance perspective: specifically, that the probability of localized political activity is maximized when the individual has significant friendship ties with both the local and extra-local communities. The overall importance of balanced ties does not vary across types of communities, but we find evidence that highly localized friendships do have varying import in communities with strong, as opposed to weak, community organizational structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-574
Number of pages25
JournalUrban Affairs Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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