Backlash being strong public reaction against something, what exactly is cultural backlash? Googling it is not that helpful.

I was reading an article that contains the sentence:

The cultural backlash to America's financial system in the wake of the Great Recession brought the topic of widening inequality into the mainstream. Ten years after the crisis, income and wealth inequality between the top 1% and the rest of the country are both still rising.
—"US inequality sparked second Gilded Age and revealed defining struggle", Business Insider

  • Do you have a particular sentence in witch you found this? There may be no more meaning beyond a 'backlash that is about culture'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 19:20
  • Avoid using comments except to ask for more information or suggest improvements. Do not answer questions in comments -- post an answer. Do not clarify your question in comments -- edit the question.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 22:11
  • 3
    A change in common ways of thinking in a whole culture in reaction to some major event. Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 8:23
  • Thank you, Kate. So in the case above, in the public's eyes, their view and their trust in the financial system have been degraded. Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


I'll try a rough take - I think what is being referred to is the manner in which something is regarded or held. For this example, lets call it "the US Financial system" / "Wall Street". I can't really tell you first hand, but my impression is that for a long time (that is, up until the Financial Crisis / Great Recession), the companies and people working at those companies (ie "bankers") had a relatively well regarded, both by the majority of the US population, as well as by the majority of US media.

Now after the Financial Crisis, I think this changed to quite a considerable degree - as Wall Street was seen as responsible for the significant loss of income or property to a large section of the US population. This changed the view taken of "bankers", the bonuses they receive, etc. That I think, is the "cultural pushback".

Probably another good example to illustrate what's meant is what people have referred to as the cultural backlash (predominately by people not of colour, ie of caucasian ancestry) after Barack Obama was elected - to put it briefly, in the form of eg the view of "Political Correctness" as going too far, etc. (whereas this was more widely accepted before his election).

Again, this is absolutely not first hand knowledge, I'm just pointing out what I've seen written in newspapers and the like.

  • Thank you. So, it is a strong reaction against something that is perceived as not culturally fit. It is a pushback to something the masses think as not culturally normal. Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 8:13
  • A strong reaction against something that is not traditionally accepted. Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 8:29
  • No, and no. Obviously I didn't do all too good a job at explaining. Look at Kate Buntings comment, it says it all in a nutshell really (shame she didn't make it an answer...). Regards,
    – Sean CJ
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 8:42
  • Okay, I'll try my best again. So it is a backlash to a certain culture. In the bankers example, what is being objected is the culture of giving big bonuses while the common people are sufferring. Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 10:35
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    I think "cultural backlash" sits in opposition to other kinds of backlash. A "regulatory backlash", "an industry backlash", "a political backlash", etc. A "cultural backlash" is from the wider culture, which as you say refers to the opinions of the population rather than merely regulators, bankers, or politicians.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 18:40

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