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Article
Stew of Discontent:“Middle Class” Americans' Economic Populism in the 1990s and Beyond
Humanity & Society
  • Jonathan Martin, Framingham State University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2010
DOI
10.1177/016059761003400404
Version
Citation
Keywords
  • Populism,
  • Class consciousness,
  • Social classes,
  • Middle class,
  • United States
Subject Categories
Sociology
Abstract
This article highlights the hidden subtlety of ordinary Americans' economic populist sentiment, a longstanding and politically pivotal form of popular resentment concerning class inequalities. Based on my research in the late 1990s, I describe how economic populist attitudes in the United States can be much more complex than suggested in the relevant literature. I use data from interviews with a small number of “ordinary middle class” Americans to illustrate little known nuances in these attitudes and to highlight how such subtleties are overlooked in prevailing characterizations of public opinion. I suggest that the oversight is the result of the fragmentary nature of the study of U.S. class consciousness. I call for critical reflection on underlying biases that may obstruct a more integrated approach, and I explain how a more holistic perspective on economic populist attitudes may be used to mobilize subordinate class discontent in the United States more effectively.
Citation Information
Jonathan Martin. "Stew of Discontent:“Middle Class” Americans' Economic Populism in the 1990s and Beyond" Humanity & Society Vol. 34 Iss. 4 (2010) p. 350 - 378
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jonathan_martin/6/