Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Communitarianism is a social philosophy that favors social formulations of the good. Scholars often contrast it with liberalism, which assumes that each individual should determine the good. Classical liberals argue that to the extent that social institutions and policies are required, these should be based on voluntary agreements among the individuals involved, expressing their preferences. In contrast, communitarians view institutions and policies as reflecting in part values passed from generation to generation. These values become part of the self through internalization and are modified by persuasion, religious or political indoctrination, leadership, and moral dialogues. While a carefully crafted balance between liberty and social order defines a generic concept of the good society, communitarians point out that the historicalsocial conditions of specific societies determine the rather different ways a given society in a given era may need to change to attain the same balance. Thus, contemporary Japan requires much greater tolerance ...