Poverty and Patriotism in America

Publication Title

Handbook of Patriotism

Document Type

Book Chapter - Open Access

Department or Program


Publication Date



Patriotism, Poverty, Class, United States, Marginalized Groups, Civil Religion, Group Psychology, Dignity, Hope, Wealth, Freedom, Coherence, Inequality, Social Change


Researchers in the social sciences and humanities have devoted considerable attention to the concept of patriotism. This volume attests to that. The resulting scholarship is rich in analytical variety, geographical and historical dimensions, and connections to other substantives points of interest. Yet, despite all this, one particular – and consequential – aspect of patriotism remains still largely understudied: its relationship to class. How does class affect the nature and level of patriotism? This chapter considers this question in light of the very high levels of patriotism among America’s poorest citizens. First, it documents those levels in absolute and comparative terms, while in parallel pointing out that there are good reasons to expect those levels to be much lower. Second, it reflects on why such patriotism matters. Third, it develops possible explanations for those high levels of patriotism based on existing literatures on American patriotism in general, marginalized groups, and social cohesion. Fourth, it considers the findings of a research project recently conducted on the issue. Finally, it concludes with a summary and reflections on future directions.


Original version is available from the publisher at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-54484-7_61