Communitarianism: A Historical Overview

  • Amitai Etzioni
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer Reference Geisteswissenschaften book series (SPREFGEIST)


This chapter focuses on the development of communitarianism as a social philosophy and its application to public policy from the 1980s to the present. Communitarianism sees a good society as one that balances several conflicting normative principles, in particular autonomy and the common good. The balance needs to be adjusted as historical conditions change. This need to find a new balance is examined with special attention to the tension between national identities and the EU’s community-building as well as between globalists and nationalists. It suggests that right-wing populism is at least partially attributable to a misunderstanding of communitarian values; that in order to reduce such populism, local communities must be nurtured rather than undermined or denounced. The chapter outlines a liberal communitarian position, that outlines ways globalist and parochial values can combine to achieve a better society.


Common good Communitarianism European integration Globalism Moral dialogue Nationalism Populism Third sector 


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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