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The Wealth Paradox
Economic Prosperity and the Hardening of Attitudes


  • Date Published: May 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107439139

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About the Authors
  • The West is currently in the grip of a perfect storm: a lingering economic recession, a global refugee crisis, declining faith in multiculturalism, and the rise of populist anti-immigration parties. These developments seem to confirm the widely held view that hardship and poverty lead to social unrest and, more specifically, scapegoating of minorities. Yet in this provocative new book, Mols and Jetten present compelling evidence to show that prejudice and intergroup hostility can be equally prevalent in times of economic prosperity, and among more affluent sections of the population. Integrating theory and research from social psychology, political science, sociology, and history, the authors systematically investigate why positive factors such as gratification, economic prosperity, and success may also fuel negative attitudes and behaviours. The Wealth Paradox provides a timely and important re-evaluation of the role that economic forces play in shaping prejudice.

    • Challenges the widespread and oft-repeated assumption that economic crises provide fertile soil for popular unrest and far-right voting
    • Will appeal to social psychologists, political scientists, sociologists, and any other social scientist interested in societal tensions and intergroup conflict
    • Serves as an important reminder that far-right parties can succeed without an economic crisis, but also that it is not necessarily those at the bottom of the social ladder who fear immigration most
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Mols and Jetten present a compelling case for the importance of the wealth paradox. This timely and fascinating book should serve as essential reading for all those interested in the continuing debate about economic conditions and hostilities towards minorities and newcomers.' Maykel Verkuyten, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands

    'A game-changer! Analyses of xenophobia typically focus on the anxieties of those at the bottom of the hierarchy. The authors carefully unsettle the academic and lay assumptions behind that focus and problematise the status concerns of the comparatively well-off. This is a provocative book of immense contemporary significance.' Nick Hopkins, University of Dundee

    'The Wealth Paradox is a timely, clear and important corrective to the traditional social science assumption that only harsh times and contexts produce xenophobia and prejudice. Mols and Jetten integrate data and theory from history, social psychology, political science and psychology to craft an analysis of relative advantage that will change the way we think about the relationship between wealth and prejudice.' Heather Smith, Sonoma State University, California

    'This book is an impressive deep dive into the motives of 'people from relatively well-to-do circles', uncovering their leadership role in the protests of the less privileged. The scientific analysis of how and why prosperity also affects intergroup relations calls for a collective responsibility for combatting increasing global inequality.' Inga Jasinskaja-Lahti, University of Helsinki, Finland

    '… this book deserves an audience beyond academia: this is myth-busting at its most politically useful.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107439139
    • length: 236 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 57 b/w illus. 2 maps 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. What We Know (Or Think We Know):
    1. Recognising the elephant
    2. Tracing the origins of 'harsh times' assumptions
    3. Empirical evidence for the 'harsh times producing hard attitudes' hypothesis
    Part II. Broadening our Horizon: The 'Wealth Paradox':
    4. Rethinking the relationship between wealth and tolerance: national, regional and local trends
    5. Development aid, charitable giving and economic prosperity
    6. The relative nature of wealth
    Part III. Understanding the 'Wealth Paradox':
    7. Towards an explanation of the wealth paradox: introducing social identity theorising
    8. The wealth paradox explained
    9. The missing link: crafty politicians galvanising latent sentiments
    Final words.

  • Authors

    Frank Mols, University of Queensland
    Frank Mols is a lecturer in Political Science at the University of Queensland. His research interests include the current rise in populist right-wing parties, anti-immigration movements, regional and separatist movements, voter attitudes, nationalism, identity politics, and identity-based leadership. His work, which brings together political science and social psychological theorising, has been published in leading international journals, including the European Journal of Political Research, Political Psychology, West European Politics, the Journal of Common Market Studies, Public Administration, Evidence and Policy, and the Australian Journal of Public Administration.

    Jolanda Jetten, University of Queensland
    Jolanda Jetten is a Professor of Social Psychology and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Queensland. Her research is concerned with social identity, group processes, and intergroup relations. She has a special interest in marginal group membership, deviance within groups, normative influence and conformity, prejudice and discrimination, coping with stigma, and, recently, the way identity can protect health and well-being. She has served as the Chief Editor of the British Journal of Social Psychology and as an Associate Editor for the British Journal of Social Psychology, Social Psychology, and Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology. She was awarded the British Psychological Society's Spearman Medal in 2004 and the European Association of Social Psychology's Kurt Lewin Award in 2014. She was the President of the Society of Australasian Social Psychology from 2011 to 2013, served on the Australian Research Council College of Experts, and recently became a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

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