Race, Class, and Conflict in a Custodial Setting: Toward the Development of a Theory of Minority-Group Politicalization

Document Type


Publication Date



This paper proposes a theory of minority-group politicalization in an attempt to link the politicalization process to conflict with authority in prison. Using path-analytic procedures, moderate-to-high support was provided the proposed theory of politicalization. It was determined that the “best” model of politicalization was the one using “importation” variables as exogenous and “race consciousness” as the endogenous politicalization variable. It was suggested that not only is politicalization a determinant of conflict with authority in prison, this attitude set may be related to various indices of conflict with authority in society such as crime rates and assaults on whites and police. With respect to the amount of variance explained in the two politicalization variables, race consciousness and class consciousness, importation variables again emerge as most important, collectively explaining over twice the amount of variance in both types of consciousness as the set of deprivation variables. Finally, race-ethnic identification was found to be most highly related to race consciousness, thereby lending support to the colony model of increased minority awareness.