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Injury to Insult

Injury to Insult

Unemployment, Class, and Political Response

Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba

ISBN 9780674454422

Publication date: 09/15/1981

It is commonplace in contemporary American politics for those who experience economic strain to join together and ask the government for help. The unemployed, by and large, have not done so. In their study, Kay Lehman Schlozman and Sidney Verba look closely at the unemployed and ask why not.

Using the results of a large-scale survey supplemented by intensive interviews, the authors consider the political attitudes and behavior of the unemployed: how much hardship they feel, how they interpret their joblessness, what they do about it, how they view the American social order, and how they vote or otherwise take part in politics. The analysis is placed in the context of several larger concerns: the relationship between stress in private life and conduct in public life, the circumstances under which the disadvantaged are mobilized for politics, the changing role of social class in America, and the links between politics and macroeconomic conditions.


  • Mr. Reagan’s economic policy suggests that the new Administration will try to cut the social programs that provide support for the unemployed and underemployed…because he believes that there are so many unemployed in the United States because life is too easy and people do not take work seriously. This book will help him correct this misconception. It will tell him something about the experience of unemployment and the hardship, self-doubt, and anxiety of those who are without work in the United States today.

    —Francis Fox Piven, New York Times Book Review


  • Kay Lehman Schlozman is J. Joseph Moakley Endowed Professor of Political Science at Boston College.
  • Sidney Verba (1932–2019) was Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor, Emeritus, and Research Professor of Government at Harvard University.

Book Details

  • 384 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press