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  • Cited by 7

Book description

Does protest influence political representation? If so, which groups are most likely to benefit from collective action? The Advantage of Disadvantage makes a provocative claim: protests are most effective for disadvantaged groups. According to author LaGina Gause, legislators are more responsive to protesters than non-protesters, and after protesting, racial and ethnic minorities, people with low incomes, and other low-resource groups are more likely than white and affluent protesters to gain representation. Gause also demonstrates that online protests are less effective than in-person protests. Drawing on literature from across the social sciences as well as formal theory, a survey of policymakers, quantitative data, and vivid examples of protests throughout U.S. history, The Advantage of Disadvantage provides invaluable insights for scholars and activists seeking to understand how groups gain representation through protesting.


'Guarded with the theoretical savviness of a budding eminent scholar and the empirical sophistication of formal modeling, Dr. Gause introduces us to the powerful ways that protest adds to American democracy. In doing so, the author makes a very compelling case for how marginalized groups, which are often associated with low resources, are able to compensate for the lack of governmental response seen in more institutional forms of political behavior. This book will be widely read, immensely studied, and rigorously followed as a bold, new way to understand protest in America.'

Daniel Q. Gillion - Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt Presidential Distinguished Professor, Political Science Department, University of Pennsylvania

'Protest works best for the poor and marginalized, LaGina Gause boldly argues. Dramatic demonstrations of commitment – particularly if difficult, risky, and costly – can sway elected officials. Deploying a range of sophisticated methods, The Advantage of Disadvantage stakes out a creative new approach to the impact of contentious protest that must be engaged.'

David S. Meyer - Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Planning, Policy, and Design, University of California, Irvine

'LaGina Gause turns conventional wisdom on its head, crafting a persuasive argument about the heterogeneous significance of resources and politicians’ interpretation of costly protest. This incisive and original work succeeds in challenging readers to rethink the consequences of this unique form of political engagement and its impact in US democracy.'

Jane Junn - University of Southern California

'In this important book, Gause uses multiple methods and data to understand how collective action shapes American politics. She shows that who protests matters, and legislators are more responsive to low-resource protesters. Yet while protest can be a force for equality, Gause also reveals the lengths to which resource-poor groups must go to be represented. This book is a must-read for scholars of political representation and inequality.'

Kris Miler - University of Maryland, and author of Poor Representation: Congress and the Politics of Poverty in the United States

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