|Part of the Politics series on|
|Part of a series on|
|Part of a series on|
Communitarianism is a philosophy that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. Its overriding philosophy is based upon the belief that a person's social identity and personality are largely molded by community relationships, with a smaller degree of development being placed on individualism. Although the community might be a family, communitarianism usually is understood, in the wider, philosophical sense, as a collection of interactions, among a community of people in a given place (geographical location), or among a community who share an interest or who share a history.Communitarianism usually opposes extreme individualism and disagrees with extreme laissez-faire policies that neglect the stability of the overall community.
The philosophy of communitarianism originated in the 20th century, but the term "communitarian" was coined in 1841, by John Goodwyn Barmby, a leader of the British Chartist movement, who used it in referring to utopian socialists and other idealists who experimented with communal styles of life. However, it was not until the 1980s that the term "communitarianism" gained currency through association with the work of a small group of political philosophers. Their application of the label "communitarian" was controversial, even among communitarians, because, in the West, the term evokes associations with the ideologies of socialism and collectivism; so, public leaders — and some of the academics who champion this school of thought — usually avoid the term "communitarian", while still advocating and advancing the ideas of communitarianism.
The term is primarily used in two senses:
Czech and Slovak philosophers like Marek Hrubec,Lukáš Perný and Luboš Blaha extend communitarianism to social projects tied to the values and significance of community or collectivism, and to various types of socialism and communism (Christian, Utopian, Scientific), for example:
While the term communitarian was coined only in the mid-nineteenth century, ideas that are communitarian in nature appear much earlier. They are found in some classical socialist doctrine (e.g. writings about the early commune and about workers' solidarity), and further back in the New Testament. Communitarianism has been traced back to early monasticism.
A number of early sociologists had strongly communitarian elements in their work, such as Ferdinand Tönnies in his comparison of Gemeinschaft (oppressive but nurturing communities) and Gesellschaft (liberating but impersonal societies), and Emile Durkheim's concerns about the integrating role of social values and the relations between the individual and society. Both authors warned of the dangers of anomie (normlessness) and alienation in modern societies composed of atomized individuals who had gained their liberty but lost their social moorings. Modern sociologists saw the rise of a mass society and the decline of communal bonds and respect for traditional values and authority in the United States as of the 1960s. Among those who raised these issues were Robert Nisbet (Twilight of Authority),Robert N. Bellah Habits of the Heart, and Alan Ehrenhalt (The Lost City: The Forgotten Virtues Of Community In America). In his book Bowling Alone (2000), Robert Putnam documented the decline of "social capital" and stressed the importance of "bridging social capital," in which bonds of connectedness are formed across diverse social groups.
In the twentieth century communitarianism also began to be formulated as a philosophy by Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement. In an early article the Catholic Worker clarified the dogma of the Mystical Body of Christ as the basis for the movement's communitarianism.Along similar lines, communitarianism is also related to the personalist philosophy of Emmanuel Mounier.
Responding to criticism that the term 'community' is too vague or cannot be defined, Amitai Etzioni, one of the leaders of the American communitarian movement, pointed out that communities can be defined with reasonable precision as having two characteristics: first, a web of affect-laden relationships among a group of individuals, relationships that often crisscross and reinforce one another (as opposed to one-on-one or chain-like individual relationships); and second, a measure of commitment to a set of shared values, norms, and meanings, and a shared history and identity – in short, a particular culture.Further, author David E. Pearson argued that "[t]o earn the appellation 'community,' it seems to me, groups must be able to exert moral suasion and extract a measure of compliance from their members. That is, communities are necessarily, indeed, by definition, coercive as well as moral, threatening their members with the stick of sanctions if they stray, offering them the carrot of certainty and stability if they don't."
What is specifically meant by "community" in the context of communitarianism can vary greatly between authors and time periods. Historically, communities have been small and localized. However, as the reach of economic and technological forces extended, more-expansive communities became necessary in order to provide effective normative and political guidance to these forces, prompting the rise of national communities in Europe in the 17th century. Since the late 20th century there has been some growing recognition that the scope of even these communities is too limited, as many challenges that people now face, such as the threat of nuclear war and that of global environmental degradation and economic crises, cannot be handled on a national basis. This has led to the quest for more-encompassing communities, such as the European Union. Whether truly supra-national communities can be developed is far from clear.
More modern communities can take many different forms, but are often limited in scope and reach. For example, members of one residential community are often also members of other communities – such as work, ethnic, or religious ones. As a result, modern community members have multiple sources of attachments, and if one threatens to become overwhelming, individuals will often pull back and turn to another community for their attachments. Thus, communitarianism is the reaction of some intellectuals to the problems of Western society, an attempt to find flexible forms of balance between the individual and society, the autonomy of the individual and the interests of the community, between the common good and freedom, rights and duties.[ citation needed ]
In moral and political philosophy, communitarians are best known for their critiques of John Rawls' political liberalism, detailed at length in his book A Theory of Justice . Communitarians criticize the image Rawls presents of humans as atomistic individuals, and stress that individuals who are well-integrated into communities are better able to reason and act in responsible ways than isolated individuals, but add that if social pressure to conform rises to high levels, it will undermine the individual self. Communitarians uphold the importance of the social realm, and communities in particular, though they differ in the extent to which their conceptions are attentive to liberty and individual rights. Even with these general similarities, communitarians, like members of many other schools of thought, differ considerably from one another. There are several distinct (and at times wildly divergent) schools of communitarian thought.
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:
Whereas the classical liberalism of the Enlightenment can be viewed as a reaction to centuries of authoritarianism, oppressive government, overbearing communities, and rigid dogma, modern communitarianism can be considered a reaction to excessive individualism, understood as an undue emphasis on individual rights, leading people to become selfish or egocentric.
The close relation between the individual and the community was discussed on a theoretical level by Michael Sandel and Charles Taylor, among other academic communitarians, in their criticisms of philosophical liberalism, especially the work of the American liberal theorist John Rawls and that of the German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant. They argued that contemporary liberalism failed to account for the complex set of social relations that all individuals in the modern world are a part of. Liberalism is rooted in an untenable ontology that posits the existence of generic individuals and fails to account for social embeddeddness. To the contrary, they argued, there are no generic individuals but rather only Germans or Russians, Berliners or Muscovites, or members of some other particularistic community. Because individual identity is partly constructed by culture and social relations, there is no coherent way of formulating individual rights or interests in abstraction from social contexts. Thus, according to these communitarians, there is no point in attempting to found a theory of justice on principles decided behind Rawls' veil of ignorance, because individuals cannot exist in such an abstracted state, even in principle.
Academic communitarians also contend that the nature of the political community is misunderstood by liberalism. Where liberal philosophers described the polity as a neutral framework of rules within which a multiplicity of commitments to moral values can coexist, academic communitarians argue that such a thin conception of political community was both empirically misleading and normatively dangerous. Good societies, these authors believe, rest on much more than neutral rules and procedures—they rely on a shared moral culture. Some academic communitarians argued even more strongly on behalf of such particularistic values, suggesting that these were the only kind of values which matter and that it is a philosophical error to posit any truly universal moral values.
In addition to Charles Taylor and Michael Sandel, other thinkers sometimes associated with academic communitarianism include Michael Walzer, Alasdair MacIntyre, Seyla Benhabib, and Shlomo Avineri.
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.
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.
Communitarians seek to bolster social capital and the institutions of civil society. The Responsive Communitarian Platform described it thus:
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.
Important to some supporters of communitarian philosophy is the concept of positive rights, which are 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.
A common objection is that by providing such rights, communitarians violate the negative rights of the citizens; rights to not have something done for you. For example, taxation to pay for such programs as described above dispossesses 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—a central tenet of communitarianism—and thus have a social responsibility to give something back 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, as well as historically; for example, whether or not universal health care, private property or protection from polluters can be considered a birthright.
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".
Still other communitarians question the very idea of natural rights and their place in a properly functioning community. They claim that instead, claims of rights and entitlements creates a society unable to form cultural institutions and grounded social norms based on shared values. Rather, the liberalist claim to individual rights leads to a morality centered on individual emotivism, as ethical issues can no longer be solved by working through common understandings of the good. The worry here is that not only is society individualized, but so are moral claims.
In the early 1990s, in response to the perceived breakdown in the moral fabric of society engendered by excessive individualism, Amitai Etzioni and William A. Galston began to organize working meetings to think through communitarian approaches to key societal issues. This ultimately took the communitarian philosophy from a small academic group, introduced it into public life, and recast its philosophical content.
Deeming themselves "responsive communitarians" in order to distinguish the movement from authoritarian communitarians, Etzioni and Galston, along with a varied group of academics (including Mary Ann Glendon, Thomas A. Spragens, James Fishkin, Benjamin Barber, Hans Joas, Philip Selznick, and Robert N. Bellah, among others) drafted and published The Responsive Communitarian Platformbased on their shared political principles, and the ideas in it were eventually elaborated in academic and popular books and periodicals, gaining thereby a measure of political currency in the West. Etzioni later formed the Communitarian Network to study and promote communitarian approaches to social issues and began publishing a quarterly journal, The Responsive Community.
The main thesis of responsive communitarianism is that people face two major sources of normativity: that of the common good and that of autonomy and rights, neither of which in principle should take precedence over the other. This can be contrasted with other political and social philosophies which derive their core assumptions from one overarching principle (such as liberty/autonomy for libertarianism). It further posits that a good society is based on a carefully crafted balance between liberty and social order, between individual rights and personal responsibility, and between pluralistic and socially established values.
Responsive communitarianism stresses the importance of society and its institutions above and beyond that of the state and the market, which are often the focus of other political philosophies. It also emphasizes the key role played by socialization, moral culture, and informal social controls rather than state coercion or market pressures. It provides an alternative to liberal individualism and a major counterpoint to authoritarian communitarianism by stressing that strong rights presume strong responsibilities and that one should not be neglected in the name of the other.
Following standing sociological positions, communitarians assume that the moral character of individuals tends to degrade over time unless that character is continually and communally reinforced. They contend that a major function of the community, as a building block of moral infrastructure, is to reinforce the character of its members through the community's "moral voice," defined as the informal sanction of others, built into a web of informal affect-laden relationships, which communities provide.
Responsive communitarians have been playing a considerable public role, presenting themselves as the founders of a different kind of environmental movement, one dedicated to shoring up society (as opposed to the state) rather than nature. Like environmentalism, communitarianism appeals to audiences across the political spectrum, although it has found greater acceptance with some groups than others.
Although communitarianism is a small philosophical school, it has had considerable influence on public dialogues and politics. There are strong similarities between communitarian thinking and the Third Way, the political thinking of centrist Democrats in the United States, and the Neue Mitte in Germany. Communitarianism played a key role in Tony Blair's remaking of the British socialist Labour Party into "New Labour" and a smaller role in President Bill Clinton's campaigns. Other politicians have echoed key communitarian themes, such as Hillary Clinton, who has long held that to raise a child takes not just parents, family, friends and neighbors, but a whole village.
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, although he did not implement it in his policy program. 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.
President Barack Obama gave voice to communitarian ideas and ideals in his book The Audacity of Hope ,and during the 2008 presidential election campaign he repeatedly called upon Americans to "ground our politics in the notion of a common good," for an "age of responsibility," and for foregoing identity politics in favor of community-wide unity building. However, for many in the West, the term communitarian conjures up authoritarian and collectivist associations, so many public leaders – and even several academics considered champions of this school – avoid the term while embracing and advancing its ideas.
Reflecting the dominance of liberal and conservative politics in the United States, no major party and few elected officials openly advocate communitarianism. Thus there is no consensus on individual policies, but some that most communitarians endorse have been enacted. Nonetheless, there is a small faction of communitarians within the Democratic Party; prominent communitarians include Bob Casey Jr., Joe Donnelly, and Claire McCaskill. Many communitarian Democrats are part of the Blue Dog Coalition. A small communitarian faction within the Republican Party also exists. Rick Santorum is an example of a communitarian Republican.It is quite possible that the United States' right-libertarian ideological underpinnings have suppressed major communitarian factions from emerging.
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."
In August 2011, the right-libertarian Reason Magazine worked with the Rupe organization to survey 1,200 Americans by telephone. The Reason-Rupe poll found that "Americans cannot easily be bundled into either the 'liberal' or 'conservative' groups". Specifically, 28% expressed conservative views, 24% expressed libertarian views, 20% expressed communitarian views, and 28% expressed liberal views. The margin of error was ±3.
A similar Gallup survey in 2011 included possible centrist/moderate responses. That poll reported that 17% expressed conservative views, 22% expressed libertarian views, 20% expressed communitarian views, 17% expressed centrist views, and 24% expressed liberal views. The organization used the terminology "the bigger the better" to describe communitarianism.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, founded and led by Imran Khan, is considered the first political party in the world which has declared communitarianism as one of their official ideologies.
Early communitarians were charged with being, in effect, social conservatives. However, many contemporary communitarians, especially those who define themselves as responsive communitarians, fully realize and often stress that they do not seek to return to traditional communities, with their authoritarian power structure, rigid stratification, and discriminatory practices against minorities and women. Responsive communitarians seek to build communities based on open participation, dialogue, and truly shared values. Linda McClain, a critic of communitarians, recognizes this feature of the responsive communitarians, writing that some communitarians do "recognize the need for careful evaluation of what is good and bad about [any specific] tradition and the possibility of severing certain features . . . from others."And R. Bruce Douglass writes, "Unlike conservatives, communitarians are aware that the days when the issues we face as a society could be settled on the basis of the beliefs of a privileged segment of the population have long since passed."
One major way the communitarian position differs from the social conservative one is that although communitarianism's ideal "good society" "reaches into the private realm, it seeks to cultivate only a limited set of core virtues through an organically developed set of values rather than having an expansive or holistically normative agenda given by the state. For example, American society favors being religious over being atheist, but is rather neutral with regard to which particular religion a person should follow. There are no state-prescribed dress codes, "correct" number of children to have, or places one is expected to live, etc. In short, a key defining characteristic of the ideal communitarian society is that in contrast to a liberal state, it creates shared formulations of the good, but the scope of this good is much smaller than that advanced by authoritarian societies."
Authoritarian governments often embrace extremist ideologies and 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 director and commander. Civil society and democracy are not generally characteristic of authoritarian regimes.
Liberal theorists such as Simon Caneydisagree 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.
According to Peter Sutch the principal criticisms of communitarianism are:
However, he goes on to show that such arguments cannot be leveled against the particular communitarian theories of Michael Walzer and Mervyn Frost.[ citation needed ]
Other critics emphasize close relation of communitarianism to neoliberalism and new policies of dismantling the welfare state institutions through development of the third sector.
|Look up communitarianism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, organic society, hierarchy, authority, and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity. The more traditional elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were".
Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Closely related to economic liberalism, it developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanisation and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States.
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance and advocate that interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group, while opposing external interference upon one's own interests by society or institutions such as the government. Individualism is often defined in contrast to totalitarianism, collectivism, and more corporate social forms.
Liberal may refer to:
Right-wing politics holds that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality may be viewed as natural results of traditional social differences or the competition in market economies. The term right-wing can generally refer to "the conservative or reactionary section of a political party or system".
The term Asian values is a political ideology that arose in the 1990s, which defined elements of society, culture, and history common to the nations of Southeast Asia and East Asia. It aimed to use commonalities – for example, the principle of collectivism – to unify people for their economic and social good and to create a pan-Asian identity. This contrasted with perceived European ideals of the universal rights of man. The concept was advocated by Mahathir Mohamad, Lee Kuan Yew and Shinzo Abe and as well as other Asian leaders. The popularity of the concept slightly waned after the 1997 Asian financial crisis when it became evident that Asia lacked any coherent regional institutional mechanism to deal with the crisis.
Michael Laban Walzer is a prominent American political theorist and public intellectual. A professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey, he is co-editor of Dissent, an intellectual magazine that he has been affiliated with since his years as an undergraduate at Brandeis University. He has written books and essays on a wide range of topics—many in political ethics—including just and unjust wars, nationalism, ethnicity, Zionism, economic justice, social criticism, radicalism, tolerance, and political obligation. He is also a contributing editor to The New Republic. To date, he has written 27 books and published over 300 articles, essays, and book reviews in Dissent, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harpers, and many philosophical and political science journals.
Self-ownership, also known as sovereignty of the individual or individual sovereignty, is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity and be the exclusive controller of one's own body and life. Self-ownership is a central idea in several political philosophies that emphasize individualism, such as libertarianism, liberalism, and anarchism.
Anti-authoritarianism is opposition to authoritarianism, which is defined as "a form of social organisation characterised by submission to authority", "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom" and to authoritarian government. Anti-authoritarians usually believe in full equality before the law and strong civil liberties. Sometimes the term is used interchangeably with anarchism, an ideology which entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including the state system.
Amitai Etzioni is a German-born Israeli and American sociologist, best known for his work on socioeconomics and communitarianism. He founded the Communitarian Network, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to supporting the moral, social, and political foundations of society. He was called the “guru” of the communitarian movement in the early 1990s, and he established the Communitarian Network to disseminate the movement's ideas. His writings emphasize the importance of having a carefully-crafted balance between individual rights and social responsibilities, and between autonomy and order, in all societies. In 2001, Etzioni was named among the top 100 American intellectuals, as measured by academic citations, in Richard Posner's book, Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline. Etzioni is currently the Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at The George Washington University, where he also serves as a University Professor and professor of International Affairs. His most recent book, called Reclaiming Patriotism, was published by University of Virginia Press in September 2019.
Conservatism in the United States is a political and social philosophy characterized by respect for American traditions, republicanism, support for Christian values, moral universalism, pro-business and anti-labor union, anti-communism, individualism, advocacy of American exceptionalism, and a defense of Western culture from the perceived threats posed by socialism, authoritarianism, and moral relativism.
Cultural liberalism is a liberal view of society that stresses the freedom of individuals from cultural norms and in the words of Henry David Thoreau is often expressed as the right to "march to the beat of a different drummer".
Right-libertarianism, also known as libertarian capitalism or right-wing libertarianism, is a political philosophy and type of libertarianism that strongly supports capitalist property rights and defends market distribution of natural resources and private property. Like most forms of libertarianism, it generally tends to support civil liberties, but also natural law, negative rights and a major reversal of the modern welfare state. Right-libertarianism is contrasted with left-libertarianism, a type of libertarianism that combines self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources. In contrast to socialist libertarianism, it tends to support free-market capitalism. Like libertarians of all varieties, right-libertarians refer to themselves simply as "libertarians". This is done to distinguish libertarian views on the nature of property and capital, usually along left–right or socialist–capitalist lines.
Liberalism in the United States is a political philosophy centered on what liberals see as the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems and the separation of church and state, right to due process and equality under the law are widely accepted as a common foundation across the spectrum of liberal thought. It differs from liberalism elsewhere in the world because the United States never had a resident hereditary aristocracy and as such avoided much of the class warfare that swept Europe. According to Ian Adams, all American parties are "liberal and always have been. Essentially, they espouse classical liberalism—that is, a form of democratized Whig constitutionalism, plus the free market. The point of difference comes with the influence of social liberalism".
Singaporean communitarianism was founded by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1959 under the People's Action Party (PAP).
Articles in social and political philosophy include:
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to libertarianism, a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. As a result, libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgment.
Liberalism and the Limits of Justice is a book about liberalism by the philosopher Michael Sandel. The work helped start the liberalism-communitarianism debate that dominated Anglo-American political philosophy in the 1980s.
Liberal socialism is a political philosophy that incorporates liberal principles to socialism. Liberal socialism has been compared to modern social democracy as it supports a mixed economy that includes both private property and social ownership in capital goods. Liberal socialism identifies legalistic and artificial monopolies to be the fault of capitalism and opposes an entirely unregulated market economy. It considers both liberty and equality to be compatible and mutually dependent on each other.