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Relative deprivation and inequalities in social and political activism

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/07/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Acta Politica
Volume54
Number of pages32
Pages (from-to)398-429
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date13/12/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

In this paper we analyse whether relative deprivation has divergent effects on different types of social and political action. We expect that it will depress volunteering with parties as well as different types of conventional political participation more generally while stimulating volunteering with anti-cuts organisations and engagement in various kinds of protest activism. There is little research into how relative deprivation impacts on different types of social and political action from the wide range of activities available to citizens in contemporary democracies as well as into how this relationship might vary based on the wider economic context. While many studies construct scales, we examine participation in specific activities and associations, such as parties or anti-cuts organisations, voting, contacting, demonstrating and striking to show that deprivation has divergent effects that depart from what is traditionally argued. We apply random effects models with cross-level interactions utilizing an original cross-national European dataset collected in 2015 (N = 17,667) within a collaborative funded-project. We show that a negative economic context has a mobilizing effect by both increasing the stimulating effect of relative deprivation on protest activism as well as by closing or reversing the gap between resource-poor and resource-rich groups for volunteering with parties and voting.