The policies of Republican Governor Scott Walker have come to symbolize a resurgent assault on the public sector, and on public employee unions in particular, by the Republican Party. The fact that this is happening in Wisconsin, the state that in the last century was considered the “laboratory of Progressivism,” makes the politics surrounding these policies all the more compelling. In The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker, Katherine J. Cramer analyzes the “politics of resentment” surrounding these developments. Employing an ethnographic “method of listening,” Cramer furnishes thick description of the political language employed by rural Wisconsinites, and proceeds to develop an interpretive theory of “political resentment” that illuminates the reasons why lower-class citizens so strongly oppose public policies seeking to offset social and economic inequality. The book is important methodologically and politically. We have thus invited a range of social and political scientists to comment on the book as a work of political science and as a diagnosis of the current political moment.
Carmines, Edward G. and Eric R. Schmidt. 2017. “A Discussion of Katherine J.Cramer's The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker." Contribution to book review symposium. Perspectives on Politics 15(2): 527-528.