This article asks, What factors have in the past affected and will continue to affect the degree of Cambodians' participation and representation in Lowell politics? Gerson argues that five key factors, three internal — coming to terms with the legacy of mistrust resulting from the holocaust wrought by Pol Pot's murderous regime; lacking a tradition of democratic participation in their home country; and generational differences between those who regard themselves as Cambodian and the American-born — and two external — Lowell's two-tiered political system and the response of the city's elected officials to the influx of Southeast Asians that began in the early 1980s. The author believes that oral history is an indispensable tool for studying ethnic and urban politics.



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