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The Economic OtherInequality in the American Political Imagination$
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Meghan Condon and Amber Wichowsky

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226691732

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226691909.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

The Politics of Social Comparison

The Politics of Social Comparison

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Politics of Social Comparison
The Economic Other

Meghan Condon

Amber Wichowsky

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains the prevalence of social comparison in political rhetoric and everyday life and summarizes how upward comparisons with the rich and downward comparisons with the poor affect perceptions of status, political attitudes, and emotions. The chapter also explains how social context, psychology, and racial and gender divides combine to structure the nature of cross-class comparisons in American society. The chapter explores political rhetoric and theory about social comparison from a variety of contemporary political actors such as Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, and great thinkers such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Virginia Wolfe, and Aristotle. The authors argue that interrogating cross-class comparisons can provide important insights into Americans’ responses to growing economic inequality.

Keywords:   social comparison, economic inequality, race, gender, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Virginia Wolfe

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