Boundaries of Obligation in American Politics: Geographic, National, and Racial Communities

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


This book shows how ordinary Americans imagine their communities and the extent to which their communities' boundaries determine who they believe should benefit from the government's resources via redistributive policies. By contributing extensive empirical analyses to a largely theoretical discussion, it highlights the subjective nature of communities while confronting the elusive task of pinning down pictures in people's heads. A deeper understanding of people's definitions of their communities and how they affect feelings of duties and obligations provides a new lens through which to look at diverse societies and the potential for both civic solidarity and humanitarian aid. This book analyzes three different types of communities and more than eight national surveys. Wong finds that the decision to help only those within certain borders and ignore the needs of those outside rests, to a certain extent, on whether and how people translate their sense of community into obligations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages265
ISBN (Electronic)9780511802874
ISBN (Print)9780521871327
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Publication series

NameCambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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