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  • Q. Discuss the basic principles of the communitarianism school of thought.

    25 Mar, 2021 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Start the answer by briefly defining communitarianism.
    • Discuss the basic principles of communitarianism.
    • Conclude Suitably.


    Communitarianism is a 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.


    • According to communitarians, a healthy community, and not the maximization of individual choices, is the desirable goal of public decision-making.
    • They regard any individual as inherently situated in society. It is within society that individuals have their being and acquire their identity. Society and other human beings are a prerequisite for human life and happiness.
      • In a way, communitarians accord higher priority to society over the individual.
    • Communitarians value courteous dialogues on public issues, reasoned analysis of problems, and dispassionate individual decision-making.
    • According to them, laws will be effective only when they are based on a moral consensus that aims at specific goals.
    • The goals which governments need to pursue are healthy citizenry, environmental protection, reducing crimes, and strengthening community solidarity.
    • They do not, however, advocate any form of collectivist or dictatorial ideology. What they have in mind is a global community–with all its diversities–of the information age.


    This view is in sharp contrast with the economic theory of the market in which individual self-interest acts as the driving force with the myriad individual decisions getting coordinated by an invisible hand.

    In contrast, communitarians argue that consideration for others, altruism, loyalty, community-based attachments, and other group-based sentiments are at the base of social life.

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