A “rare and fascinating look at creative subcultures” (Barbara Ehrenreich) by the bestselling author of Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers
“Quart’s gift as a writer is her ability to report on the experiences of ordinary people, following their realistically messy lives for years, offering us vivid portraits that are profoundly humane. . . . A brilliant move.”
—Annalee Newitz, The New York Times Book Review
This “groundbreaking study of the increasing influence of cultural outsiders” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) is “at once an ode to the underrepresented and a reporting tour de force” (The Writer). Alissa Quart, “one of the smartest cultural interpreters of her generation” (Susan Cain, author of Quiet), introduces us to those who have created new ways to keep themselves sane, fulfilled, and, on occasion, paid.
Republic of Outsiders is the story of Americans who, freed of middlemen and armed with new technology, are able to make their unusual ideas go viral and disrupt the status quo. They include amateur filmmakers who crowdsource their work, scientists developing artificial meat, neurodiverse activists, and “alternative” bankers. These outsiders create and package new identities (a process Quart dubs “identity innovation”). They push the boundaries of who they—and we—can be.
This richly reported book shows how and why these groups now gather, organize, and create new communities and economies. Republic of Outsiders is an inspiring, critical examination of how to make rebellion—and how to turn amateurism into a strength rather than a weakness.