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Encyclopedia > Communitarianism

Communitarianism, as a group of related but distinct philosophies, began in the late 20th century, opposing in its opinion exalted forms of individualism while advocating phenomena such as civil society.[citation needed] Not necessarily hostile to social liberalism or even social democracy, communitarianism emphasizes the interest of communities and societies over those of the individual.[citation needed] (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... For articles with similar names and topics, see Individual (disambiguation). ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that states political system) and commercial institutions. ... Social liberalism is either a synonym for new liberalism or a label used by progressive liberal parties in order to differentiate themselves from the more conservative liberal parties, especially when there are two or more liberal parties in a country. ... Social democracy is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed that the transition to a socialist society could be achieved through democratic evolutionary rather than revolutionary means. ...

Contents

Terminology

Though the term communitarianism is of 20th-century origin, it is derived from the 1840s term communitarian, which was coined by Goodwyn Barmby to refer to one who was a member or advocate of a communalist society. The modern use of the term is a redefinition of the original sense. Many communitarians trace their philosophy to earlier thinkers. The term is primarily used in two senses: // First use of general anesthesia in an operation, by Crawford Long The first electrical telegraph sent by Samuel Morse on May 24, 1844 from Baltimore to Washington, D.C.. First signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) on February 6, 1840 at Waitangi, Northland New Zealand. ... John Goodwyn Barmby, like his wife Catherine Barmby, were influential supporters of Robert Owen in the late 1830s and early 1840s before moving into the radical Unitarian stream of Christianity in the 1840s. ... Communalism is a modern term that describes a broad range of social movements and social theories which are in some way centered upon the community. ...

  • Philosophical communitarianism considers classical liberalism to be ontologically and epistemologically incoherent, and opposes it on those grounds. Unlike classical liberalism, which construes communities as originating from the voluntary acts of pre-community individuals, it emphasizes the role of the community in defining and shaping individuals. Communitarians believe that the value of community is not sufficiently recognized resp. grounded in liberal theories of justice.
  • Ideological communitarianism is characterized as a radical centrist ideology that is sometimes marked by leftism on economic issues and conservatism on social issues. This usage was coined recently. When the term is capitalized, it usually refers to the Responsive Communitarian movement of Amitai Etzioni and other philosophers.

Communitarianism, as a group of related but distinct philosophies, began in the late 20th century, opposing in its opinion exalted forms of individualism while advocating phenomena such as civil society. ... Classical liberalism (also known as traditional liberalism[1] and laissez-faire liberalism[2]) is a doctrine stressing the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitations of government, free markets, and individual freedom from restraint as exemplified in the writings of Adam... This article is about ontology in philosophy. ... Theory of knowledge redirects here: for other uses, see theory of knowledge (disambiguation) Epistemology (from Greek επιστήμη - episteme, knowledge + λόγος, logos) or theory of knowledge is a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. ... As commonly used, individual refers to a person or to any specific object in a collection. ... Communitarianism, as a group of related but distinct philosophies, began in the late 20th century, opposing in its opinion exalted forms of individualism while advocating phenomena such as civil society. ... The terms radical center or radical middle describe a type of third way philosophy as well as an associated political movement. ... An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... Amitai Etzioni. ...

Philosophical communitarianism

Communitarian philosophers are primarily concerned with ontological and epistemological issues, as distinct from policy issues. The communitarian response to John Rawls' A Theory of Justice reflects dissatisfaction with the image Rawls presents of humans as atomistic individuals. Although Rawls allows some space for benevolence, for example, he views it merely as one of many values that exist within a single person's head. This article is about the philosophical meaning of ontology. ... This article or section should include material from Episteme Epistemology (from the Greek words episteme=science and logos=word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge. ... John Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, and The Law of Peoples. ... A Theory of Justice is a book of political and moral philosophy by John Rawls. ...


Communitarians claim values and beliefs exist in public space, in which debate takes place. They argue that becoming an individual means taking a stance on the issues that circulate in the public space. For example, within the United States debate on gun politics, there are a number of stances to be taken, but all of these stances presuppose the existence of a gun politics debate in the first place; this is one sense in which the community predates individualism. Similarly, both linguistic and non-linguistic traditions are communicated to children and form the backdrop against which individuals can formulate and understand beliefs. The dependence of the individual upon community members is typically meant as descriptive. It does not mean that individuals should accept majority beliefs on any issue. Rather, if an individual rejects a majority belief, such as the historic belief that slavery is acceptable, he or she will do so for reasons that make sense within the community (for example, Christian religious reasons or reasons deriving from the Enlightenment conception of human rights) rather than simply any old reason. In this sense, the rejection of a single majority belief relies on a deep tradition of other majority beliefs. Gun politics is a set of legal issues surrounding the ownership, use, and regulation of firearms as well as safety issues related to firearms both through their direct use and through legal and criminal use. ... For articles with similar names and topics, see Individual (disambiguation). ...


The following authors have communitarian tendencies in the philosophical sense, but have all taken pains to distance themselves from the political ideology known as communitarianism, which is discussed further below.

Michael Sandel (1943-) is a contemporary political philosopher. ... Charles Margrave Taylor, CC, BA, MA, Ph. ... Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre (born January 12, 1929 in Glasgow, Scotland) is a philosopher primarily known for his contribution to moral and political philosophy but known also for his work in history of philosophy and theology. ... Image:Mwalzer large. ... Christos Yannaras is an important Greek philosopher and writer of more than 40 books, translated in many languages. ... Patrick Hunout is a researcher and policymaker who in 1999 created The International Scope Review, one of the largest peer-reviewed academic journals in the economic and social sciences. ...

Ideological communitarianism

Communitarian philosophy

Social capital

Beginning in the late 20th century, many authors began to observe a deterioration in the social networks of the United States. In the book Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam observed that nearly every form of civic organization has undergone drops in membership exemplified by the fact that, while more people are bowling than in the 1950s, there are fewer bowling leagues. Bowling Alone: Americas Declining Social Capital (1995) is an essay by Robert D. Putnam. ... Robert D. Putnam (2006) Robert David Putnam (born 1941 in Rochester, New York) is a political scientist and professor at Harvard University. ...


This results in a decline in "social capital", described by Putnam as "the collective value of all 'social networks' and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other". According to Putnam and his followers, social capital is a key component to building and maintaining democracy. Social capital, referring to connections within and between social networks, is a core concept in business, economics, organisational behaviour, political science, public health, and sociology. ... A social network is a map of the relationships between individuals, indicating the ways in which they are connected through various social familiarities ranging from casual acquaintance to close familial bonds. ...


Communitarians seek to bolster social capital and the institutions of civil society. The Responsive Communitarian Platform described it thus [1]: The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that states political system) and commercial institutions. ...

"Many social goals . . . require partnership between public and private groups. Though government should not seek to replace local communities, it may need to empower them by strategies of support, including revenue-sharing and technical assistance. There is a great need for study and experimentation with creative use of the structures of civil society, and public-private cooperation, especially where the delivery of health, educational and social services are concerned."

Positive rights

Central to the communitarian philosophy is the concept of positive rights, rights or guarantees to certain things. These may include state subsidized education, state subsidized housing, a safe and clean environment, universal health care, and even the right to a job with the concomitant obligation of the government or individuals to provide one. To this end, communitarians generally support social security programs, public works programs, and laws limiting such things as pollution and gun ownership. A Positive right is a right, either moral or decreed by law, to be provided with something so that it is incumbent upon another to act, as opposed to a negative right which is a right to not be subject to the action of another. ...


A common objection is that by providing such rights, they are violating the negative rights of the citizens, rights to not have something done for you. For example, taking money in the form of taxes to pay for such programs as described above deprives individuals of property. Proponents of positive rights, by attributing the protection of negative rights to the society rather than the government, respond that individuals would not have any rights in the absence of societies, and are thus obligated to give something to it. Some have viewed this as a negation of natural rights. However, what is or is not a "natural right" is a source of contention in modern politics; for example, whether or not universal health care can be considered a birthright, or how far the government can go to protect the environment. For other uses, see Universalism (disambiguation). ...


Alternatively, some agree that negative rights may be violated by a government action, but argue that it is justifiable if the positive rights protected outweigh the negative rights lost. In the same vein, supporters of positive rights further argue that negative rights are irrelevant in their absence. Moreover, some communitarians "experience this less as a case of being used for others' ends and more as a way of contributing to the purposes of a community I regard as my own" [2].


Comparison to other political philosophies

Communitarianism cannot be classified as being wholly left or right, and many claim to represent a sort of radical center. Liberals in the American sense or social democrats in the European sense generally share the communitarian position on issues relating to the economy, such as the need for environmental protection and public education, but not on cultural issues. Communitarians and conservatives generally agree on cultural issues, such as support for character education and faith based programs, but communitarians do not support the laissez-faire capitalism generally embraced by American conservatives. The term radical center can refer to either: a political movement: Radical centrist politics a mathematical construct: also called the power center This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Social democracy is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed that the transition to a socialist society could be achieved through democratic evolutionary rather than revolutionary means. ... Laissez-faire is short for laissez faire, laissez passer, a French phrase meaning to let things alone, let them pass. First used by the eighteenth century Physiocrats as an injunction against government interference with trade, it is now used as a synonym for strict free market economics. ...


Libertarianism

Communitarianism and libertarianism emphasize different values and concerns. Libertarianism is an individualist philosophy, with a strong focus on the rights of citizens in a republic. Communitarians believe that there is too much focus on these concerns, arguing that "the exclusive pursuit of private interest erodes the network of social environments on which we all depend, and is destructive to our shared experiment in democratic self-government" [1]. They believe that rights must be accompanied by social responsibility and a maintenance of the institutions of civil society if these rights are to be preserved, but libertarians believe that government actions to promote these ends actually result in a loss of individual liberty. In addition, libertarians reject communitarian attempts to promote character education and faith-based initiatives, arguing that government has no business engaging in what they see as social engineering. For judgements of value about collectivism and individualism, see individualism and collectivism. ...


Authoritarianism

Some people have argued[who?] that communitarianism's focus on social cohesion raises similarities with national Communism or authoritarianism, although supporters contend that there are substantial differences between communitarianism and authoritarianism. This article is about the form of society and political movement. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This article applies to political and organizational ideologies. ...


Authoritarian governments often rule with brute force, accompanied with severe restrictions on personal freedom, political and civil rights. Authoritarian governments are overt about the role of the government as commander. Civil society and democracy are not generally characteristic of authoritarian regimes. For the most part, communitarians emphasize the use of non-governmental organizations in furthering their goals. The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that states political system) and commercial institutions. ... A non-governmental organization (NGO) is an organization which is not a part of a government. ...


Communitarian movement

The modern communitarian movement was first articulated by the Responsive Communitarian Platform, written in the United States by a group of ethicists, activists, and social scientists including Amitai Etzioni, Mary Ann Glendon, and William Galston. Amitai Etzioni. ... President George W. Bush and Laura Bush stand with 2005 National Humanities Medal recipient Mary Ann Glendon. ...


The Communitarian Network, founded in 1993 by Amitai Etzioni, is the best-known group advocating communitarianism. One of the network's many initiatives to reach out to a broader public is the transnational project Diversity within Unity, which advocates a communitarian approach towards immigration and minority rights in today's diversifying societies. The project is endorsed by a diverse and international group of supporters, including current Dutch prime-minister Jan-Peter Balkenende from the Christian Democratic Appeal, Rita Süssmuth from the Christian Democratic Union (Germany); the Hungarian dissident and philosopher György Bence; the renowed British political scholar David Miller (political theorist), and many more.[3] Amitai Etzioni. ... Prime Minister of the Netherlands Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende   listen? (* May 7, 1956) is Prime Minister of The Netherlands since July 22, 2002. ... The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) (Dutch: Christen Democratisch Appèl) is a Dutch Christian-democratic political party. ... Rita Süssmuth (CDU), president of the German Bundestag 1988-1998 Rita Süssmuth (born 17 February 1937 in Wuppertal) is a German politician and a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). ... The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU — Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) is the second largest political party in Germany. ... György Bence György Bence — in Hungarian [Bence György] — (Budapest, 8 December 1941–Budapest, 28 October 2006) was a university professor, philosopher, and political consultant. ... David Miller (born 8 March 1946) is a prominent British political theorist. ...


A think tank called the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies is also directed by Etzioni. Other voices of communitarianism include Don Eberly, director of the Civil Society Project, Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, and Patrick Hunout, founder of The Social Capital Foundation. Robert D. Putnam (2006) Robert David Putnam (born 1941 in Rochester, New York) is a political scientist and professor at Harvard University. ... Bowling Alone: Americas Declining Social Capital (1995) is an essay by Robert D. Putnam. ... Patrick Hunout is a researcher and policymaker who in 1999 created The International Scope Review, one of the largest peer-reviewed academic journals in the economic and social sciences. ... The Social Capital Foundation (TSCF) is an independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, free of any established political or economic interest, that pursues the promotion of social capital and social cohesion. ...


Influence in the United States

Reflecting the dominance of liberal and conservative politics in the United States, no major party and few elected officials advocate communitarianism. Thus there is no consensus on individual policies, but some that most communitarians endorse have been enacted. Political parties Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Left-Right politics or the Left-Right political spectrum is a common way of classifying political positions, political ideologies, or political parties along a one-dimensional political spectrum. ...


President Bill Clinton was open about his support for much of Amitai Etzioni's philosophy, though whether this reflected on his actual policy program is debatable. It has also been suggested that the "compassionate conservatism" espoused by President Bush during his 2000 presidential campaign was a form of conservative communitarian thinking. Cited policies have included economic and rhetorical support for education, volunteerism, and community programs, as well as a social emphasis on promoting families, character education, traditional values, and faith-based projects. Definition Compassionate conservatism is a political philosophy that was invented by Marvin Olasky, who went on to memorialize it in his 2000 book Compassionate Conservatism: What it is, What it Does, and How it Can Transform America, and Myron Magnet of the Manhattan Institute. ...


Dana Milbank, writing in the Washington Post, remarked of modern communitarians, "There is still no such thing as a card-carrying communitarian, and therefore no consensus on policies. Some, such as [John] DiIulio and outside Bush adviser Marvin Olasky, favor religious solutions for communities, while others, like Etzioni and Galston, prefer secular approaches." [1] Dana T. Milbank (born 27 April 1968) is an American political reporter for the Washington Post. ... ... John DiIulio Jr John J. DiIulio Jr. ...


Criticism

There has been very little systematic criticism of ideological communitarianism, if only because its exact premises and policy consequences are difficult to pin down. Those wary of it tend to be individualist thinkers who worry that self-described communitarians are actually stealth collectivists; or, more plausibly, that the main effect of well-intentioned communitarian rhetoric is to provide cover for collectivists with a much farther-reaching and harsher agenda than the communitarians intend.[citation needed] For judgements of value about collectivism and individualism, see individualism and collectivism. ... Collectivism, in general, is a term used to describe a theoretical or practical emphasis on the group, as opposed to (and seen by many of its opponents to be at the expense of) the individual. ...


Conversely, many on the Left would see communitarianism as a nostalgic form of conservatism. Conservatism is a term used to describe political philosophies that favor tradition and gradual change, where tradition refers to religious, cultural, or nationally defined beliefs and customs. ...


Liberal theorists such as Simon Caney[4] disagree that philosophical communitarianism has any interesting criticisms to make of liberalism. They reject the communitarian charges that liberalism neglects the value of community, and holds an "atomized" or asocial view of the self. If they are correct in this, then communitarian doctrine reduces to little more than traditionalism and moral relativism, a kind of small "c" conservatism.


Notes

  1. ^ a b The Communitarian Network, Responsive Communitarian Platform Text.
  2. ^ Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, 143.
  3. ^ List of sponsors of the 'Diversity in Unity" platform: http://www.gwu.edu/~ccps/dwu_endorse.html
  4. ^ 'Liberalism and communitarianism: a misconceived debate'. Political Studies 41:4, 650–656

See also

This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Social conservatism generally refers to a political ideology or personal belief system that advocates the conservation or resurrection of what one, or ones community, considers to be traditional morality and social structure. ... Christian democracy is a diverse political ideology and movement. ... Civics is the study of citizenship and government with particular attention given to the role of citizens in the operation and oversight of government. ... The intended meaning of the term civil religion often varies according to whether one is a sociologist of religion or a professional political commentator. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that states political system) and commercial institutions. ... Communalism is a term used by the German historian Blickle for a form of representative government in Europe before 1800. ... Communalism is used in South Asia to denote attempts to promote primarily religious stereotypes between groups of people identified as different communities and to stimulate violence between those groups. ... Definition Compassionate conservatism is a political philosophy that was invented by Marvin Olasky, who went on to memorialize it in his 2000 book Compassionate Conservatism: What it is, What it Does, and How it Can Transform America, and Myron Magnet of the Manhattan Institute. ... Identity politics is the political activity of various social movements for self-determination. ... The public sphere is a concept in continental philosophy and critical theory that contrasts with the private sphere, and is the part of life in which one is interacting with others and with society at large. ... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, with an emphasis on liberty, rule of law, popular sovereignty and the civic virtue practiced by citizens. ... Social capital, referring to connections within and between social networks, is a core concept in business, economics, organisational behaviour, political science, public health, and sociology. ... The Social Capital Foundation (TSCF) is an independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, free of any established political or economic interest, that pursues the promotion of social capital and social cohesion. ... Third way can refer to: The Third Way, an economic and political idea that positions itself between democratic socialism and laissez-faire capitalism, combining the ordoliberal social market with neo-liberalism. ...

Earlier theorists

Martin Buber (8 February 1878 – 13 June 1965) was an Austrian-Israeli-Jewish philosopher, translator, and educator, whose work centered on theistic ideals of religious consciousness, interpersonal relations, and community. ... Hegel redirects here. ... Machiavelli redirects here. ... Rousseau redirects here. ... Tocqueville redirects here. ...

Contemporary theorists

Patrick Hunout is a researcher and policymaker who in 1999 created The International Scope Review, one of the largest peer-reviewed academic journals in the economic and social sciences. ... Benjamin R. Barber (b. ... Robert Neelly Bellah is a sociologist at University of California at Berkeley and author of a number of books including Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. ... Amitai Etzioni. ... Robert D. Putnam (2006) Robert David Putnam (born 1941 in Rochester, New York) is a political scientist and professor at Harvard University. ... Alexander Christopher Lee (born 1981) is a British historian and political theorist. ... Michael Sandel (1943-) is a contemporary political philosopher. ... It is proposed that this article be deleted, because of the following concern: uneccessary article If you can address this concern by improving, copyediting, sourcing, renaming or merging the page, please edit this page and do so. ... Charles Margrave Taylor, CC, BA, MA, Ph. ... Image:Mwalzer large. ... Costanzo Preve (b. ...

External links

Look up Communitarianism in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ...

Critical Communitarianism

Communitarian organizations

Opposition

Articles on communitarianism

Some potentially useful references, transported from the Sourcewatch, which also links additional articles of relevance to this topic:

Image File history File links Portal. ... A political party is a political organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ... This is an overview of the ideologies of parties. ... Political parties Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This is a list of political parties around the world by ideology. ...

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Communitarianism emerged in the 1980s as a response to the limits of liberal theory and practice.
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