Book Project

Localism in America

The aim of this book is both to characterize and to critique a particular, and not at all peculiar, frame of mind, attitude, or impulse in American political thought, culture, and practice. I call this frame of mind localism. Rooted most broadly in the preference for, or in the disposition in favor of, what is near and small as opposed to what is distant and large in the political world, localism in America has social, political, and ideological dimensions. Americans, it is widely believed, are peculiar in their intense desire to be governed close to home. Whether this is attributable to their status as settler-nation continually confronting the frontier, in their experience of being governed from across the Atlantic during the colonial era, or in the combination of communitarian and individualistic impulses, American localism is easily recognizable but poorly understood.

Based on my dissertation:

The Localist Tradition in America
Princeton University
September 2015
Committee: Melissa Lane, Stephen Macedo, Paul Frymer

Chapter Outline