The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker

· University of Chicago Press
6 reviews

About this ebook

“An important contribution to the literature on contemporary American politics. Both methodologically and substantively, it breaks new ground.” —Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare

When Scott Walker was elected Governor of Wisconsin, the state became the focus of debate about the appropriate role of government. In a time of rising inequality, Walker not only survived a bitterly contested recall, he was subsequently reelected. But why were the very people who would benefit from strong government services so vehemently against the 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.

Taking a deep dive into Wisconsin’s political climate, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics. The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment—no less than partisanship, race, or class—plays a major role in dividing America against itself.

Ratings and reviews

6 reviews
Keith Steva
June 26, 2017
I highly recommend this book. The writing style is not perfect and occasionally is a bit repetitive, however the content is right on. I grew up just across the Mississippi River in Clayton County, IA which is as rural county as can be imagined. The conversations that the author transcribes and her analysis resonates as true to my experience growing up on a farm in a very rural area. I live now in South Dakota and the same themes and issues exist here as well. Resentment of "undeserving others receiving handouts from the government', slowly dying towns, people struggling to make a living, the Department of Natural Resources is unbelievably incompetent, no one listens nor understands what it is like to live in a truly rural area, and the government is the root of all evil. Almost the entire state of South Dakota and much of Iowa could be the location of the conversations. These themes ARE rural Midwestern and understanding what it is like in rural mid western area is not something that is good or bad, but it is the foundation to political choices. This book does a great job highlighting what it is like to "be rural".
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James Clark
December 23, 2016
A look at a thing called 'rural consciousness' that may argue for a sociospatialeconomic view of people. There are suggested to do's at the end of the last chapter.
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About the author

Katherine J. Cramer is professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she is also director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service and an affiliate faculty member in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the LaFollette School of Public Affairs, the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education, and the Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies. She is the author of Talking about Race and Talking about Politics, both also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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