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The Common Good and a Teleological Conception of Rights

An Article on the African Philosophy of Rights

Sabelo Ndwandwe

A common communitarian criticism of rights discourse picks at the individualistic picture of rights which is said to presuppose a society where persons are conscious of their separateness. In contrast, an African communitarian society is said to put less emphasis on individual interests; it encourages harmony, not divergence of interests, competition, and conflict. Thus, preoccupation with rights would be incompatible with and even hostile to the possibility of community. This article argues the opposite; it submits that rights and community are mutually constitutive. To this end, I explore T. H. Green’s social recognition thesis which reconceptualises rights and obligations in a teleological framework. When conceived in this fashion, rights transcend antithetical relations between individuals and society as typified by classical natural rights thinkers. I argue that, considering a normative significance of the common good, a compelling account of rights in African philosophy is better conceived in a teleological framework.

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Alison Kadlec

In this article I argue for a model of Deweyan 'critical pragmatism' as a therapeutic alternative to traditional models of deliberative democracy that have been crippled by their inheritance of the threadbare liberal/communitarian debate. By orienting my discussion here with respect to the most serious radical democratic challenges to deliberative democracy, I hope to show how Deweyan critical pragmatism may help us develop new approaches to the theory and practice of deliberation that are both more attuned to power relations than traditional models and make more inventive use of everyday life to pursue more meaningful deliberative opportunities for citizens.

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A Ghost from the Future

The Postsocialist Myth of Capitalism and the Ideological Suspension of Postmodernity

Ridvan Peshkopia

There is a widespread tendency to see the perils of postsocialism in the revival of the ghosts and myths from the past—namely ethnocentrism, nationalism, exclusiveness, bickering, collectivist-authoritarianism, expansionist chauvinism, and victimisation. I suggest that postsocialism's perils rest with a myth from the future, namely, the myth of capitalism. Those perils, I argue, are rooted in the fetishisation of capitalism by the postsocialist societies as a reflection of their deeply ingrained teleological way of perceiving the future. Political leaders are taking advantage of this situation by putting themselves in the position of those who would lead toward such a utopia. As a consequence, individual freedoms are sacrificed at the altar of communitarian bliss. I suggest that the only hope that we have to secularise the newly re-religiosised postsocialist societies rests with intellectuals.

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On Noam Chomsky

Language, Truth and Politics

Christopher Norris

You might think that British socialists have cause for rejoicing, given the 1997 landslide Labour victory and the end of nearly two decades of corrupt, divisive, and morally repugnant Conservative rule. However, there are clear signs already that the Blair ‘administration’ – note the shift to U.S. policyspeak – is in the process of dumping what little remained of its socialist values and principles. On a whole range of issues – taxation, education, social welfare, health care, union laws, market deregulation, the supply of British arms to repressive regimes – it is now plain to see that the government has decided to adopt the maxim ‘business as before’, with just a few minor face-saving adjustments. What we are getting, for the most part, is a fashionable strain of communitarian talk (‘social markets’, ‘ethical investment’, ‘welfare to work’, ‘tough on crime and on the causes of crime’, etc.) as a cover for policies that have scarcely changed since the heyday of Thatcherite orthodoxy.

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Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft

The Reception of a Conceptual Dichotomy

Niall Bond

Ferdinand Tönnies's oeuvre Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, published in 1887, has been seminal for the social and human sciences in general, and is no less interesting for intellectual historians and theoreticians of concept formation in particular. Tönnies subscribed to the belief that terms could be rendered less ambiguous, defining the words Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft more narrowly than their contemporary usage. In so doing, he sought to reconcile a heterogeneous agenda initially consisting in offering a diagnosis of vast historical developments and later consisting in providing heuristic tools to analyze individual relationships. This article examines the origins of the concepts and their politicized transformation prior to and subsequent to the publication of his work. As such, it takes on the transformation of Gemeinschaft during the romantic era and its revival by Germany's nationalist right wing and contrasts it with its appropriation by left-leaning communitarian movements in the English-speaking world. The polysemy of the terms in the German language accounts for their semantic evolution, for amalgamations of meanings within Tönnies's conceptual system, and for conundrums in translating the work into English or French. Although the terms were erroneously supposed to have been immediately applicable as ideal types, their adaptation, inter alia by Max Weber or by Talcott Parsons in the form of pattern variables, has been important in the reception of Tönnies's work in the social sciences.

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Revisiting the Menkiti-Gyekye Debate

Who Is a Radical Communitarian?

Motsamai Molefe

An opinion has gained ground in African philosophy that Ifeanyi Menkiti is a radical communitarian (Gyekye 1992 , 1997 ; Matolino 2009; Metz 2012) . Kwame Gyekye, an influential African philosopher, was first to identify what he referred to as a

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Marcelo Hoffman

communitarian bond and its representation in an authority’ (Badiou 1985: 15 , my translation). ‘Politics’, on the other hand, reveals this representation as a ‘fiction’ through the event (Badiou 1985: 12 , my translation). In other words, politics concerns

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Gustavo H. Dalaqua

the Nuclei into three categories. The communitarian are composed of citizens that ‘live or work in the same community and that therefore have many problems and worries in common’ ( Boal 1996b: 70 ). The thematic, by contrast, are formed by citizens

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Theo Jung, Cristian Roiban, Gregor Feindt, Alexandra Medzibrodszky, Henna-Riikka Pennanen, and Anna Björk

and analytical tools, the reader is left with rather brief remarks. This is true especially for the usage of the communitarian notion of citizenship and the emphasis on the idea of political belonging, which are mainly dealt with in chapter 3 (55

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Pınar Melis Yelsalı Parmaksız

political position results in reinventing paternalism in terms of conservatism; basically, the AKP imitates the corporatist property of paternalism on communitarian and religious grounds. In the Kemalist single-party regime, modernization functioned as an