Introduction The use and manipulation of emotions have always been a feature of how powerful actors and institutions have engaged populations and energised them in political ways. Political elites have always known that the ability to win ‘hearts and minds’ is as important, if not more important, than sound policy arguments (Thrift, 2008). Writing as a geographer, I am particularly interested in how emotions and emotive ideas and policies are mobilised in particular places, and how emotions become localised, politicised and contested. Here I think the notion of ‘civic pride’, and its role in local government policy and practice, provide a useful point of entry for examining questions of emotional governance, and more broadly for analysing how emotions play a role in (and become productive for) local civic agendas. Civic pride is a relatively familiar concept within most local government circles, but it is a term which is rarely given to (academic) critical analysis. My central claim is that by reconceptualising civic pride somewhat, in a more emotionally and politically sensitive way, we can begin to explore some of the underlying meanings and intentions behind current local government policy in the UK, and examine how civic pride connects with a range of contemporary urban issues such as citizenship and belonging, urban regeneration, localism and austerity.