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The Virtues of ExitOn Resistance and Quitting Politics$
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Jennet Kirkpatrick

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635392

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635392.001.0001

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What Is Exit?

What Is Exit?

(p.1) Introduction What Is Exit?
The Virtues of Exit

Jennet Kirkpatrick

University of North Carolina Press

This introductory chapter examines the current scholarship on leaving or walking away from political groups such as nation states, political parties, and civic associations. It argues that “exit” tends to have three characteristics in this literature. It is associated with individualism, anti-participation, and freedom from higher authority. In short, exit is often thought of as an act that cuts someone off from politics or frees a person from the burden on politics. The chapter suggests that there is another way to think about exit as remaining connected to politics and attached to political communities. Using James Baldwin’s self-exile from the United States as an example, it offers an initial glimpse of what this alternative way of leaving looks like and provides an overview of the chapters of the book.

Keywords:   Individualism, Anti-participation, Freedom from politics, James Baldwin, Albert Hirschman, Exit, Voice and Loyalty

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