Don’t get mad: The disconnect between religious discrimination and individual perceptions of government

Jonathan Fox, Chris Bader, Jennifer M. McClure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study examines whether objective discrimination against religious minorities causes individual members of a minority to form grievances and engage in political activity against the government using data from the World Values Survey and Religion and State-Minorities datasets. We find that higher levels of objective discrimination do not predict more grievances and organizing activity. This contradicts predictions made by relative deprivation theory but is consistent with a social psychology literature which finds a “personal/group discrimination discrepancy.” That is, objective discrimination often has little influence on grievances expressed by individuals. Taking these findings, along with the failure of the empirical literature to support relative deprivation theory, the relative success of the grievances-based literature, the arguments of the mobilization literature, and a brief case study we argue that the key factor explaining collective action is the effort of group leaders to mobilize the grievances of group members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-516
Number of pages22
JournalConflict Management and Peace Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


  • Discrimination
  • World Values Study
  • mobilization
  • relative deprivation
  • religion


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