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Democratizing InequalitiesDilemmas of the New Public Participation$
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Caroline W. Lee, Michael McQuarrie, and Edward T. Walker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479847273

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479847273.001.0001

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The Social Movement Society, the Tea Party, and the Democratic Deficit

The Social Movement Society, the Tea Party, and the Democratic Deficit

Chapter:
(p.204) Chapter 11 The Social Movement Society, the Tea Party, and the Democratic Deficit
Source:
Democratizing Inequalities
Author(s):

David S. Meyer

Amanda Pullum

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479847273.003.0011

This chapter focuses on the Tea Party movement's mobilization of grassroots activism since 2009 to demonstrate how populist mobilization builds from public sentiments of inequality and democratic deficits in the political system. In particular, it highlights the tension between grassroots mobilizations animated by democratic rhetoric and their potentially less democratic claims on policy. The chapter first considers the history of social movements before situating the Tea Party and its right-wing populism within social movement theory, along with inconsistencies/disagreements within the Tea Party. It then explores political opportunity theory in order to elucidate how the Tea Party's claims, tactics, and trajectory are affected by the world outside the movement, with particular emphasis on formal politics. It also discusses the Tea Party's resource mobilization and concludes by explaining how inequality allowed for new mobilization opportunities in the movement's case despite their largely undemocratic nature.

Keywords:   inequality, Tea Party movement, grassroots activism, democratic deficits, democratic rhetoric, social movements, populism, social movement theory, political opportunity theory, resource mobilization

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