The Evolution of Communitarian Ideas

History, Theory and Practice

  • Henry Tam

Table of contents

About this book


This book deals with three key questions about communitarian ideas: how to distinguish what constitutes communitarian thinking; what lessons to take from the historical development of communitarian arguments; and why their practical implications are relevant in devising reforms at the local, national, and global levels. Each chapter covers a distinct period, with a critical exposition of the leading thinkers of that time who contributed to communitarian philosophy and politics. Beginning with an examination of the rise of proto-communitarian ideas in classical Western and Eastern thought, the book closes with a review of communitarian responses to the emergent social and technological changes in the 21st century. Readers will learn about the core features and significance of communitarian theories and practices in relation to morality, education, the economy, freedom and security, community development, and democratic governance; and how they compare and contrast with other ethical and intellectual outlooks.

Henry Tam is Director of Question the Powerful. He has been Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, Visiting Professor at Birkbeck, University of London, and Head of Civil Renewal in the UK Government. His published books includeCommunitarianism (1998), Time to Save Democracy (2018), and Whose Government is it? (2019).


communitarian ideas communitarian challenges enlightened communities Gemeinschaft & Gesellschaft depersonalisation community disempowerment ethos of reciprocity cooperative community interdependence Thomas More Francis Bacon Enlightenment Robert Owen Alexis de Tocqueville mutual responsibility cooperative enquiry citizen participation power balance security community fragmentation

Authors and affiliations

  • Henry Tam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Bibliographic information