- About Us
- Domestic Policy
- Foreign Policy
- Foreign Language
Many Americans have called into question the thesis that contentment is found in the affluent way of life and have instead embraced simplicity and “transcendental pursuits.” This article examines this trend among older, retired Americans and advances the argument that they provide a strong living example of the association between less income, communitarian culture, and happiness.
The Encyclopedia of Political Thought is the most comprehensive and rigorous treatment of significant political thinkers, political theories, concepts, ideas, and schools of thought.Click here for Amitai Etzioni's entries: "Common Good", "Community", and "Communitarianism"
Professor Amitai Etzioni recently published an article outlining his liberal communitarian approach to balancing press freedom with national security, and criticising the publication of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. In this short interview, Dr. Simon Dawes asks him to outline his concept of communitarianism, his communitarian approach to values such as press freedom, privacy and national security, as well as his criticisms of the Snowden affair.
This article asks which normative framework should be applied in determining whether privacy is unduly diminished in the American quest for enhanced protection against terrorist attacks; which specific criteria should be employed in determining whether the balance has tilted too far toward enhancing security or protecting privacy; and which measures can be taken to reduce the inevitable conflict between security and privacy. It also seeks to show that enhanced transparency is inferior to enhanced accountability, although there is some room for adding more of both kinds of scrutiny.
Although the concept of legitimacy is widely invoked in social science literature, political disclosure, and common parlance, key empirical and normative questions about legitimacy are often left far from answered, especially "Legitimated by whom?" and "Legitimated by what criteria?"
Sometimes a complex issue can be captured in a few very simple words: “Prosecuting suspected pirates detained in international waters has proved difficult.” And according to Douglas Burnett, an expert in maritime law, pirates are treated with a “catch and release philosophy that’s usually reserved for trout.”
Attempts to justify human rights in terms of other sources of normativity unwittingly weaken the case of human rights. Instead these rights should be treated as moral causes that speak to us directly, as one of those rare precepts that are self-evident.
Transparency is a highly regarded value, a precept used for ideological purposes, and a subject of academic study. The following critical analysis attempts to show that transparency is overvalued.
The moral value of human rights and liberty is so central to scholars, activists, and citizens in the West that they are taken as more or less self-evident truths. This essay shares this assumption. However, it asks: Do human right and liberty provide a sufficient moral foundation for a good society?
The idea that achieving ever-higher levels of consumption of products and services is a vacuous goal has been with us from the onset of industrialization. These ideas often have taken the form of comparing the attractive life of the much poorer, pre-industrial artisan to that of the more endowed industrial assembly-line worker.
“The Communitarian Constitution by Beau Breslin,” Perspectives on Political Science 37, No. 1 (Winter 2008), pp. 60-61.
Unfortunately, the failed policies with which The Case for Democracy is associated will likely lead many to avoid this rich, interesting, and well-developed work.
Although long championed, a global language has not come to fruition despite considerable efforts. Many fear that such a language would undermine the particularistic, identity-constituting primary languages of local and national communities.
At first, it may seem that citizenship tests are just what their title implies: tests that determine whether a person is qualified to become a citizen. Actually, in many nations that require such citizenship tests, the vast majority of the individuals involved are not required to command any qualifications to become a citizen and hence are not tested.
The European Union is suffering not just from a democratic deﬁcit, but a community deﬁcit. The level and scope of its integration activities far exceed the degree of community that it sustains. The article explains why community, particularly normative-affective community, is needed and how it can be built in the EU.
A Communitarian Approach: A Viewpoint on the Study of the Legal, Ethical and Policy Considerations Raised by DNA Tests and Databases
This article seeks to outline a viewpoint on the study of the legal, ethical and policy considerations raised by DNA tests and databases (from here on, DNA usages). It does not delve into the specifics involved. It outlines a way of thinking that has proven productive elsewhere and seems promising in dealing with DNA usages in the United States, but little more. Given that this essay is about a communitarian approach that draws on specific communitarian values, I turn next to briefly present the approach here followed.
“Communitarianism.” The Cambridge Dictionary of Socioloy. ed. Bryan S. Turner (Cambridge University Press 2006) pp. 81-83.
States are moving to limit the damage done to justice by Kelo v. New London. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 majority, vastly expanded the concept of eminent domain. It ruled in favor of what correctly has been called a "Reverse Robin Hood." The court ruling has benefited a group of businesses and local government interests in the New London, Conn., area including the New London Development Corp., drug giant Pfizer Inc. and private real estate developers.
We must work together for a fair society: a society in which everyone is treated with full respect, recognizing that we are all God's children. A society in which no one--adult or child--is left behind. A place in which such moral commitments are truly honored rather than served up as hallow promises.
Response to Simon Prideaux’s ‘From Organisational Theory to the New Communitarianism of Amitai Etzioni
“Response to Simon Prideaux’s ‘From Organisational Theory to the New Communitarianism of Amitai Etzioni’.” Canadian Journal of Sociology. Vol. 30, No. 2 (2005) pp. 215-217.
“Affective Bonds and Moral Norms: A Communitarian Approach to the Emerging Global Society.” International Politics and Society, ed. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. (Verlag J.H.W.
Professor Shanley's argument is compelling, powerful, and well grounded in communitarian arguments. However, when all is said and done she does not directly address the question of whether gay and lesbian unions should be accorded the same legal status as heterosexual ones.
“On Virtual, Democratic Communities.” Community in the Digital Age, Andrew Feenberg and Darin Barney, editors. (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004, USA) pp. 225-238.
Communitarianism is a social philosophy that maintains that society should articulate what is good–that such articulations are both needed and legitimate. Communitarianism is often contrasted with classical liberalism, a philosophical position that holds each individual should formulate the good on his or her own.
Are we justified when we care more about "our own kind" than about all others? Some scholars have tried to provide an answer based on what they consider human nature. Others--on self-interest
This essay explores some of the elements of what makes for a good society--or--community--from a communitarian viewpoint, with consideration from a combination of social facts as seen by sociologist. Additionally, ethical considerations, with special attention paid to exclusivity and to equality, are addressed.
America’s moral and social fabric is weakening. Too often we demand rights without assuming responsibilities, pursue entitlements while shying away from obligations. More broadly, as the increase in antisocial behavior over the last decades indicates, we have lost our commitment to values we all share and next to no new ones have arisen to replace those that were lost.
“The Communitarian Model.” Building a Healthy Culture: Strategies for an American Renaissance, (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co: Grand Rapids, MI, 2001), 246-259.
Communitarianism is a social philosophy that maintains that societal formulations of the good are both needed and legitimate. Communitarianism is often contrasted with classical *liberalism, a philosophical position that holds each individual should formulate the good . Communitarians examines the ways shared conceptions of the good (values) are formed, transmitted, enforced and justified. Hence their interest in communities (and moral dialogues within them), historically transmitted values and mores, and the societal units that transmit and enforce values such the family, schools, and voluntary associations from social clubs to independent churches.
Robert Putnam's new book raises crucial questions for the analysis of the social and moral future of American society. He demonstrates that the old, 1950s social fabric, and the white male dominated social bonds on which it was based, have largely frayed. Numerous kinds of civic engagement have declined, including participation in voluntary associations, public life, and religious activities. Putnam documents well that the anomie that followed this disengagement has had numerous ill effects on individuals and on society that are usually associated with the breakdown of social order, such as the increase in violent crime. The unavoidable question therefore is: What is going to fill the gnawing social vacuum? While he addresses this question largely in terms of a need to recreate social connectedness or community, it cannot be adequately answered, I shall argue, without examining the sources and content of a new shared moral culture.
Several leading civil libertarian groups and advocated (and libertarians) argue that minors of all ages are entitled to First Amendment rights. (To save breath, they are all referred to from here on as civil libertarians.) Reference is mainly not to "production" of speech but to "consumption," the unfettered access to cultural material.
Americans aspire to a society that is not merely civil but also good. A good society is one in which people treat one another as ends in themselves and not merely as instruments, a society in which each person is shown full respect and dignity rather than being used and manipulated.
281. "The Monochrome Society." Policy Review. No. 105 (February & March 2001), 53-70.
Various demographers and other social scientists have been predicting for years that the end of the white majority in the United States is near, and that there will be a majority of minorities. CNN broadcast a special program on the forthcoming majority of people of color in America.(1) President Clinton called attention to this shift in an address at the U.C. San Diego campus on a renewed national dialogue about race relations.(2)
Two recent reports call attention to the fact that the American society faces two "crises" rather than one. These studies are the National Commission On Civic Renewal's A Nation of Spectators: How Civic Disengagement Weakens America and What We Can Do About It (from here on A Nation of Spectators), and the Institute for American Values' A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truths (from here on A Call to Civil Society).
Legal scholars have rediscovered social norms. For decades, the insights and findings of law and society(1) were largely ignored, and law and economics--which mostly ignores social norms--was all the rage. In the past few years, however, new powerful essays about social norms have begun appearing in law reviews.(2) As Richard Epstein wrote recently, "the subject of social norms is once again hot."(3)
One can readily sympathize with Professors Norman Nie and Lutz Erbring, the investigator and co-investigator of a recent study on the social consequences of the internet conducted by the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society. Like many scholars before them who have conducted extensive surveys, their results at first seemed rather self-evident and dull. They spent much effort and resources to reach 4,113 adults in 2,689 households. They analyzed their data and came up with such findings as the internet is used more for e-mail (90%) than banking (12%), more people use the internet for surfing (69%) than for trading stocks (7%), and those who use it extensively spend less time in traffic (14% of heavy users).
Communitarians argue that democratic societies require a core of shared values. To be legitimate a democracy must be something more than a procedure that allows individuals with different values to work out shared policies. The question is, what is the most effective way for communities to collectively formulate shared values?
Given that holidays both reflect a society's attributes and serve to modify these attributes, they are a valuable tool for a macro-sociological analysis. This paper proceeds by examining Durkheim's well-known contributions on rituals and advancing theoretical ideas on how these might be modified, seeking to develop a theory of holidays.
267. "Communitarian Elements in Select Works of Martin Buber," The Journal of Value Inquiry, No. 33, (July 1999), pp. 151-169.
I. Background and Focus
I was a high school dropout who chose to join the army and fight to drive the British out of Palestine and face the Arab invasions that followed during what is known as the Israeli war of independence. When the war ended, I enrolled in a brand new institution that Martin Buber had just created in Jerusalem, dedicated to training teachers for adults.
The headlines remind us almost daily that privacy is endangered, but there are times when our commitment to privacy endangers public health and public safety. Frequently, the common good is neglected to protect privacy. Good societies carefully balance individual rights and social responsibilities, autonomy and the common good, privacy and concerns for public safety and public health, rather than allow one value or principle, to dominate. Once we accept the concept of balance, the question arises as to how we determine whether our policy is off balance and in what direction it needs to move, and to what extent, to restore balance.
Die große Resonanz, die der Vortrag des renommierten deutschen Soziologen Prof Rene König Anfang des Jahres 1987 im Wiener Rathaus bei einem sehr großen Publikum fand, inspirierte die Idee einer Vorlesungsreihe im Rathaus zu den großen Problemen und Überlebensfragen der Menschen am Ausgang des 20. Jahrhunderts.
Communitarians argue that democratic societies require a core of shared values; that if democracy is merely a procedure that allows individuals who have different ultimate normative commitments to settle differences, then that polity will lack in legitimacy.
Communitarians tend to argue that democratic societies require a core of shared values; that if democracy is merely a procedure that allows individuals who have
“Cross Cultural Judgements: The Next Steps.” War and Border Crossings, ed. Peter A. French and Jason A. Short. (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005) pp. 107-119.
“Community of Communities.” The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3, (Summer 1996), 127-138.
On some of the long-debated issues between libertarians and communitarians the two sides are narrowing their differences.
A sociological prize of sorts ought to be given to the member of the TV audience who, during a show about the S&L mess exclaimed, "The tax payers shouldn't pay for this, the government should!"
OUR CULTURE looks at new-born children through rose-tinted glasses. "They're so cute," everyone coos. Yet looked at objectively their behaviour is rather like that of animals: they take in food, expel waste and shriek. More importantly, they command no inborn moral or social values, and they do not develop such virtues on their own. These facts are the historical reason why families - nuclear and extended - were entrusted with civilising these little creatures.
Just how incorrigible is human nature, and what lessons on public policy follow once we come to terms with the sobering answer to this age old question?
It is no accident that the issue of gun sweeps in Chicago’s public housing recently caught the attention of the president of the United States and the national press. The question of the legitimacy of those sweeps has profound implications for the future of civility in American society.
A State Department official ordered this anecdote in a briefing to an American sociologist on his way to Europe to explore interest in communitarian ideas there.
Should schools be in the character-formation business? The heated debate on this issue is largely theoretical in the worse sense of the term. Whether educators are aware of it or not, schools do shape the development of their students’ characters, for better or for worse. Schools that follow a policy of automatic promotion - for example, allowing students who are disruptive, truant, or failing, to advance from grade to grade and ultimately to graduate - send a strong message to students that misconduct carries no undesirable consequences. As this message is repeated year after year, throughout one’s school career, it has clear characterological effects.
Even inveterate optimists cannot miss the awful signs of social decline in America...
Nobody calls it “group searches,” not to mention “the search and seizure of the innocents,” although both terms would capture an important trend in our courts’ interpretations of the Fourth Amendment. In fact, many observers still cite what is held to be the prevailing interpretation of the Fourth Amendment: that no one is subject to search and seizure unless there is “probable cause” that the particular person has committed a crime, is committing one or appears predisposed to commit one (say, carries a bomb).
THE TROUBLE with the recent debate about parental responsibility is that both sides (or more) have a point. Conservatives are right that many families have been neglecting their children, that parents must assume more responsibility for their children, and that they should be sent strong signals that this is their duty.
The Founding Fathers did not bother to write down a bill of particulars for our social responsibilities to match the Bill of Rights. In the days of closely knit communities and religiously committed individuals, one’s responsibilities were all too clear, it was rights that needed enshrining. However, as public opinion polls keep reminding us, it seems we have come full circle: Rights are now taken for granted while responsibilities are shirked.
President Bill Clinton often speaks in communitarian terms: “If we have no sense of community, the American dream will continue to wither.” Likewise, Vice President Al Gore has echoed a communitarian theme: “While we give supreme value to the rights of the individual, we expect that freedom to be exercised with respect toward others and with decent restraint.” And Hillary Rodham Clinton believes, The Washington Post said, that “People need to serve each other, and serve their communities, distinguish themselves by social activism.” But how good a communitarian is Bill Clinton?
If a community recognizes a set of moral values and commitments as compelling, as virtues, these become the foundations of moral discourse in that community.
“We Shall Reap What We Sow” San Jose Mercury News, (May 2, 1993), p. 1P.
“What is Communitarianism?” we are frequently asked. We are a social movement aiming at shoring up the moral, social and political environment. Part change of heart, part renewal of social bonds, part reform of public life.
“If you’re looking for a label for the new administration in Washington - something other than ‘liberal’ or ‘moderate’ - try ‘communitarian.’” a USA Today article suggests. Indeed, President Clinton often speaks in communitarian terms: “if we have no sense of community, the American dream will continue to wither.” Likewise, Vice President Albert Gore Jr. has echoed a communitarian theme: “while we give supreme value to the rights of the individual, we expect that freedom to be exercised with respect toward others and with decent restraint.”
If you want a premonition of what the Clinton administration is going to be like, watch how he deals with the first interest group that accosts him. You will not have to wait long. Representatives of interest groups are already lining up, six lobbyists deep, in the corridors of Congress, to ensure that no Clinton (or any other) initiative will be passed without their exacting a few pounds of flesh.
President-elect Clinton inherits severe economic problems along two fronts--growth and deficits. During his campaign, he built a mandate for public efforts to restart the engine of economic growth and put America back to work. We believe that he should begin immediately to build a parallel mandate for eliminating the federal budget deficit by the end of his second term.
Some social conservatives, such as the Rev. Pat Robertson, label the Democrats anti-family and claim they do not believe in God, would not oppose an abortion for a 13-year-old-girl, and would allow gay marriages. Some liberals counter that it is the Republicans who are anti-family, pointing to President Bush’s veto of legislation that would have required companies above a certain size to provide unpaid leave for parents. They also claim that his Administration has not provided enough funds for child care or improved the economy enough to keep children from sinking deeper into poverty.
Communitarian ideas have been around at least since the days of the Old Testament. In the modern era, they have played an important role in a variety of social movements ranging from the social democrats to the environmentalists.
The recent flurry of exchanges between contemporary liberal philosophers and their communitarian critics points to a theoretical middle ground, directly relevant to economics.
If a community recognizes a set of moral values and commitments as compelling, as virtues, these become the foundations of moral discourse in that community.
The current debate over educational canons largely involves the humanities disciplines of history and literature.
A sociological prize ought to be awarded to the member of a TV audience who, during a show about the S&L mess, exclaimed: “The taxpayers shouldn’t pay for this; the government should!” He expressed well a major theme of contemporary American civic culture: a strong sense of entitlement and a weak sense of obligation to the community. Americans hold dear the right to be tried by a jury of their peers; but when asked to serve on such juries, most do their damnedest to evade the call. Most Americans cheered our show of force in the Gulf, but very few wish to serve in the armed forces or have their children sign up.
At first glance, America's loss of competitiveness seems a simple matter. The litany is all too familiar.
If you are thinking of starting a quarterly publication, lie down until the urge goes away. I did not; I am still standing, but barely. The economic, social, and intellectual curve balls that I have had to field in the past I would not wish on my least favorite people.
Frictions-psychological, sociological, political-is a major social science variable. During changes, friction is high. The post-communist transition from command economics to freer ones vividly highlights the perils of ignoring this basic factor.
Americans have recently called for more government services, but showed greater opposition to new taxes; the express their willingness to show the flag anywhere from Central America to the Gulf, but many are reluctant to serve in the armed forces; and they have a firm sense that one ought to have the right to be tried before a jury of one’s peers, but evade serving on such juries.
The moaning and groaning coming from American corporations seems excessive. It has been going on since well before the United States Sentencing Commission presented its recommendations on penalties for corporate crime to Congress last week, and it may even accelerate while Congress studies the report.
Among the least reported results of last November’s elections - and one that is only now coming into effect - was the insistence by voters of the District of Columbia that residents of the city’s homeless shelters attend rehabilitative programs, work, and save for their future housing.
For several years, on many fronts, champions of greater responsibility to the community have become something of a new force in American life. They think of themselves as “communitarians,” though so far there is no registry of communitarians and no formal association. Nevertheless, their influence is real enough, and so are their objectives: to evolve public policies, moral norms, and regulatory guidelines that will correct what they perceive as excessive, “radical” individualism.
A point of contention between two groups of social scientists has surprisingly significant ramifications for the moral quality of our economic life.
The business community is up in arms about attempts to toughen the penalties for corporations that violate the law. In April, business leaders successfully pressured the White House and, through it, the Department of Justice to hold back the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which was about to recommend guidelines that would have required stiff fines - up to hundreds of millions of dollars per offense - for convicted corporations.
Communitarians charge contemporary liberal philosophers (CLP) with an excessive focus on individual rights and with neglect of obligations to the community, to shared virtues and common purposes.
Sally, 16, used to spend entire weekends with an older man in bohemian Greenwich Village in New York City. For a while, she was sleeping with two guys.
When her more traditionally minded, single mother tried to put an end to these liaisons, Sally told her to buzz off, using a less printable term.Her outraged mother felt she could not “control” Sally and had her committed to a mental hospital with the help of a psychiatrist she knew. Because Sally tried to escape by breaking down a door, she was declared “violent” and heavily sedated. Now she drifts between docility and disorientation.
America is increasingly doing to its children what it has done to its elderly, and to worse effect: separating them out of the family and warehousing them in poorly supervised institutions.
John Tanton, M.D., is about to strike again. This time his target is the American Civil Lbierties Union (ACLU). He is launching a counter-organization, the American Civil Rights and Responsibilities Union (ACRRU). The ACRRU will conduct educational campaigns, draft legislation, and file briefs to help ensure that the rights and needs of the commons will not be neglected in hot pursuit of Me-ism and special interests.
Out of opposition to collectivism grew the celebration of the individual. Long before libertarians objected to totalitarianism in the name of individual rights, laissez faire conservatives challenged the collectivism that had been entailed in nationalism, Catholic and Anglican church doctrines, and secular pessimistic theories of human nature (theories that favored collective institutional and cultural restraints “to keep the lid” on individual urges).
McDonald's is bad for your kids. I do not mean the flat patties and the white-flour buns; I refer to the jobs teen-agers undertake, mass-producing these choice items.
Air accidents can be viewed as random tests of the extent to which those responsible for keeping airplanes flying are doing their duty.
An old Chinese proverb - or is it a curse? - reads "May you live in interesting times"
The long decline of the Americal family seems to have stopped and reconstruction has begun
Even as we admire the prospects of technology, we cannot disregard the human factor, which increasingly appears to be coming unhinged.
The family is widely considered the "first" institution, the elementary cell of social life. It is here that maturity is first experienced and civility is first taught.
Representatives of several leading U.S. corporations have adopted a new technique against the movement for safer products, workplaces and other environments. Rather than get entangled in the complex and emotional questions of how much safety we can afford, how much a life is worth, they have chosen - indeed, invented - a much easier target: the "risk-free society."
Dishonesty in America is nearing epidemic proportion. We long ago passed the point of isolated ourbreak one in a town, two in a city.
I have returned to New York City after five months in Palo Alto, California.
A while back there was a severe shortage of electricity in New York City, and Columbia University tried to help out in two ways: A card reading "Save a watt" was placed on everyone's desk and janitors removed some light bulbs from university corridors.
The much maligned TB box-"waste-land" "boob tube"- may yet be the foundation of culture, education and information the American home.
More and bloodier riots may be expected in American cities over the next several years.
The human relations school has often been criticized for not paying enough attention to structural and cultural factors and for focusing on factors which can be controlled.
“Social Maturity,” Encyclopedia Hebraica (1953) (in Hebrew), Vol. 7, pp. 613-616.