Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
William M. Curtis
As its name suggests, communitarianism is a broad tradition of political thought that emphasizes the moral and political value of community. Although the label is of twentieth-century vintage, contemporary communitarians often claim thinkers like Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel as their intellectual forebears. In the modern era, the communitarian project has included both a critique of liberal political theory as well as a critique of the practices of liberal society. Thus, for example, one aim of Hegel's communitarian philosophy was to critically respond to Kantian moral and political philosophy, and JeanJacques Rousseau's communitarian theory of politics in The Social Contract was motivated by his repulsion at eighteenth-century Europe civilization, which was becoming increasingly liberal and capitalist. More recently, in the 1980s, a new round of the liberal communitarian debate took center stage in Anglo-American political theory. In this debate, communitarian thinkers were primarily reacting against the Contemporary ...