The concept of economic localization, although receiving increasing academic and practical interest, still lacks a solid theoretical background. Our aim here is to suggest a working definition of the term economic localization and to outline its possible interpretations and operationalizations. Based on a detailed analysis of six monographs on the subject, we: (i) summarize the content of localization narratives as presented by the individual authors, capturing the variability of the localization agenda; (ii) present 11 localization dimensions and 17 more concrete aspects of localization arguments as a way to structure and operationalize the concept; and (iii) suggest a condensed working definition of the economic localization concept. We argue that it is crucial to acknowledge the complexity of the economic localization agenda, which should not simply focus only on some of its aspects without keeping a sense of the whole in mind. We thus propose to define economic localization as both the process and the result of moral, political and practical support of as many localized aspects of production and consumption as possible and desirable. Finally, we discuss the construction of “the other” within the localization argument, and the position of the localization concept within the research agenda of ecological economics. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.