Communitarianism, social and political philosophy that emphasizes the importance of community in the functioning of political life, in the analysis and evaluation of political institutions, and in understanding human identity and well-being. It arose in the 1980s as a critique of two prominent philosophical schools: contemporary liberalism, which seeks to protect and enhance personal autonomy and individual rights in part through the activity of government, and libertarianism, a form of liberalism (sometimes called “classical liberalism”) that aims to protect individual rights—especially the rights to liberty and property—through strict limits on governmental power.

Communitarian ideas have also played a significant role in public life through their incorporation into the electoral platforms and policies of Western political leaders of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, and U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Liberals and libertarians responded by characterizing the communitarian position as akin to East Asian authoritarian communitarianism. They also argued that social formulations of the good—and the obligations they generate, which individuals must then discharge—can sometimes be oppressive. Some libertarians cited taxes and mandatory vaccinations as examples of such obligations.

Communitarianism is a 20th Century political and social ideology emphasizing the interests of the community over those of the individual. Communitarianism is often considered the opposite of liberalism, the theory that places the interests of the individual above those of the community. In this context, communitarian beliefs may have been most clearly expressed in the 1982 movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, when Captain Spock tells Admiral James T. Kirk that, “Logic clearly dictates the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

During the mid-nineteenth century, the concept of communal—rather than individual—ownership and control of property and natural resources formed the basis of classical socialist doctrine, as expressed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their Communist Manifesto of 1848. In Volume 2, for example, Marx proclaimed that in a truly socialist society “The condition for the free development of each is the free development of all.” 

The specific term “communitarianism” was coined in the 1980s by social philosophers in comparing contemporary liberalism, which advocated using the powers of government to protect individual rights, with classical liberalism, which called for protecting individual rights by limiting the powers of government.

In contemporary politics, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair applied communitarian beliefs through his advocacy of a “stakeholder society” in which businesses should be responsive to the needs of their workers and the consumer communities they served. Similarly, the “compassionate conservatism” initiative of former U.S. President George W. Bush stressed the use of conservative policy as the key to improving the general welfare of American society.


Political Theory in a globalizing Word

Political globalization refers to the growth of the worldwide political system, both in size and complexity. That system includes national governments, their governmental and intergovernmental organizations as well as government-independent elements of global civil society such as international non-governmental organizations and social movement organizations. One of the key aspects of the political globalization is the declining importance of the nation-state and the rise of other actors on the political scene. The creation and existence of the United Nations is called one of the classic examples of political globalization.

Political globalization is one of the three main dimensions of globalization commonly found in academic literature, with the two other being economic globalization and cultural globalization. First, globalization has intensified global and regional patterns of exchange (political, economic, cultural) and thus has made us aware that our actions have implications that do not stop at our own borders, but have wider and more far-reaching effects.

Second, globalization has accelerated the emergence of global collective action problems. Yet, it has also contributed to a new sense of urgency about establishing global cooperation to address them. It is appreciated that to do nothing about financial market risks, terrorism in the Middle East or climate change, among many other global