Populism, localism and democratic citizenship

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3 Scopus citations


This article articulates and explores a localist conception of citizenship that stands in contrast to more liberal, neoliberal and cosmopolitan conceptions. A localist orientation, and some real sympathy, is evident in specifically ethnographic accounts of voters who supported Trump, Brexit and populism more broadly, including such accounts by Arlie Hochschild, Robert Wuthnow, Kathy Cramer and Justin Gest. This localist orientation echoes the Antifederalist opponents of the American Constitution, Jacksonian Democrats, Tocqueville’s account of American democracy and the American populists. I consider both the virtues and vices of localism. The possible benefits include local practices of nested reciprocity, special obligations, specifically local ‘social bases of selfrespect’ – in the terminology of John Rawls – and feelings of belonging and home (what the Germans call Heimat). However, localism also has its downsides: its resources can empower prejudice and exclusion. I end with a reflection on localism and exclusion in Lorraine Hasberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-476
Number of pages30
JournalPhilosophy and Social Criticism
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Brexit
  • Trump
  • citizenship
  • cosmopolitanism
  • democracy
  • ethnography
  • globalization
  • liberalism
  • localism
  • populism


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