Kommunitarismi, identiteetti ja yhteisöllisyys

Communitarianism, identity, and new communities

The debate between communitarians and liberals is, for its part, a symptom of an increasing interest towards a new, or, to put it better, renewed sociological understanding of moral issues. Communitarians criticize the liberal concept of the individual as an abstract bearer of rights and try to replace it with a more concrete picture of the individual as an essentially social and political species-being. This Neo-Aristotelian critique is directed against the theoretical presumptions of liberal theory but also against liberal politics and thus communitarianism is also a post-liberal critique of our times. It is easy to see why communitarianism has become popular in social theory: like classical sociology, communitarianism seeks to find a social moral substance somewhere in between the totality of the nation-state and the abstract concept of a free and rational individual. However, the communitarian concept of community might be too rigid, too romantic, and too binding to give an accurate picture of modern communities of consumption and life-style. When communitarians appreciate the (political) activity of local and relatively stable communities they turn their backs to ambivalent, unstable, and aesthetic dynamics of modern communities. The communitarian agenda of re-embedding and restoring morality might turn into futile moralism if the unstable dynamics of new communities are excluded from communitarian visions of the responsible community.

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