The Politics of Resentment
Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker
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.
Chapter 1. Making Sense of Politics through Resentment
Chapter 2. A Method of Listening
Chapter 3. The Contours of Rural Consciousness
Chapter 4. The Context of Rural Consciousness
Chapter 5. Attitudes toward Public Institutions and Public Employees
Chapter 6. Support for Small Government
Chapter 7. Reactions to the Ruckus
Chapter 8. We Teach These Things to Each Other
Appendix A: County Map of Wisconsin
Appendix B: Descriptions of Groups Observed and Municipalities in Which They Met
Appendix C: Questions Used during Observations