Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2018




This Article develops a first iteration of a locality-centered account of civil society and the role for government and law within it. I examine a particular municipality—the City of Pittsburgh—to provide a concrete example from which to generate ideas and judgments about the terrain and content of this localist account. While it may seem startling to approach the large goal of providing a generalizable account of civil society and municipal agency from a review of one U.S. city, I believe that doing so keeps the account grounded in particularities that highlight the very concrete ways in which civil society both manifests in, and can be supported by, a city. As more cities and other considerations are brought to bear on my account, I expect revisions to be in order. While I hope the account I produce can be serviceable for cities outside of the United States, my own ambition is to identify ideals suitable to cities within it. This is partly because my own expertise is in U.S. law, but also because I believe any ac­ count of cities, civil society, and law must relate to actual settings. U.S. cities share enough historical and legal context to answer to a general account. I leave to others, in their own application of reflective equilibrium, the question of whether the lessons I draw have implications for other cities in other places, with different histories and different laws.

Publication Citation

45 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 615.