Relative deprivation and political protest

  • R. M. Kliuchnyk Alfred Nobel University
Keywords: political crisis, political opposition, political violence, nativism, anti-system political actor


The article is devoted to political protest being one of the development factors of society’s political system. Possibilities of methodological synthesis, in particular, the use of the deprivation theory within the investigation of the development of political protest have been considered. Psychological nature of the deprivation phenomenon has been stressed. Differences between absolute and relative deprivation have been considered. The influence of deprivation on the mobilization of protest movements has been proved by examples by the author. The classification of relative deprivation which includes declining, aspirational and progressive deprivation has been used in the article.Theory of the relative deprivation refers to the ideas that feelings of discontent and frustration depend on aims of a person or a group of people. Feelings of the relative deprivation emerge when important goals of people become unreal or are blocked by society or political elites. Relative deprivation is often considered to be the central concept in the explanation of protest movements and is being used to explain the factors that lead to the emergence of social movements. Protest activity begins from collective feelings of relative deprivation. Unlike the relative deprivation, the absolute deprivation is a key factor of protest movements in poor countries.Economic deprivation in conditions of the transition to free market is considered to be a background of crisis phenomena in politics. The role of political and financial elites in the mobilization of citizens has been underlined. The role of the opposition in the formation of protest views is also significant.Political security is connected with the lack of external and internal threats or the reduction of their severity. Political radicalism is considered to be the one of such threats. Three variables which help to analyze the political protest have been taken into account by the author. The first one is the quantity of citizens, involved into the protest activity. The second one is the duration of protest actions. Finally, the third variable includes destructive consequences of protest, for example, damage or victims. It has been underlined by the author that the level of these factors is connected with the level of citizens’ social deprivation.Examples of anti-system political parties and movements have been given. Many of them have changed the political disposition in Europe. Lega Nord (Italy), PEGIDA (Germany), Movimento 5 Stelle (Italy), Front National (France), Ataka (Bulgaria), etc are between them. These parties and movements influence increasingly on the European political process. Nativism and populism are marked as main peculiarities of such right parties. According to the author, Anti-Trump protests in the USA are the examples of the relative deprivation of numerous groups of people that feel their rights and freedoms being threatened.


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How to Cite
Kliuchnyk, R. M. (2017). Relative deprivation and political protest. Scientific and Theoretical Almanac Grani, 20(1), 62-67.