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Publisher's Summary

Since the election of Scott Walker, Wisconsin has been seen as ground zero for debates about the appropriate role of government in the wake of the Great Recession. In a time of rising inequality, Walker not only survived a bitterly contested recall that brought thousands of protesters to Capitol Square, he was subsequently reelected. How could this happen? How is it that the very people who stand to benefit from strong government services not only vote against the candidates who support those services but are vehemently against the very idea of big government?
With The Politics of Resentment, Katherine J. Cramer uncovers an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle: rural political consciousness and the resentment of the "liberal elite". Rural voters are distrustful that politicians will respect the distinct values of their communities and allocate a fair share of resources. What can look like disagreements about basic political principles are therefore actually rooted in something even more fundamental: who we are as people and how closely a candidate's social identity matches our own. Using Scott Walker and Wisconsin's prominent and protracted debate about the appropriate role of government, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics, regardless of whether urban politicians and their supporters really do shortchange or look down on those living in the country. The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment - no less than partisanship, race, or class - plays a major role in dividing America against itself.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The University of Chicago (P)2017 Post Hypnotic Press Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By tu'ens on 01-19-18

Worthwhile but not super enjoyable

First off I didn’t really like the narrator. She had an annoying way of speaking which ranged from way too annunciated to sounding like she needed a sip of water.

The book itself is irritating in a sense because the author seems to be overcompensating and buying into the false perceptions her subjects have. Naturally anyone listening to this will wonder “are they right?” about some basic stats that are repeatedly referenced by the “rural” people, specifically that they don’t get their “fair share” of government expenditures. It takes many chapters before she addresses this question and seems to kind of tap dance around it and find a way to say they’re not totally wrong, then give the facts and, in fact, they’re totally wrong. Since this is a key premise of the book, I saw it as the whole meaning of the book should be “how do we get the rural people to understand that the injustice is not anyone else’s fault and in fact they are the ones being disproportionately helped” but instead she frames it as a legitimate concern along the lines of “the rural people are angry because they feel they don’t get their fair share so how do we accommodate them?” I was hoping to come away understanding their surprisingly well argued valid concerns and instead came away angry at them and resenting them for not caring to know any correct facts and being racist, lazy and narrow minded.

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