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'Their masters' voice: communitarianism, civic order and political representation

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Etzioni's communitarian project is considered in the context of awave of writings on 'civic' themes in recent years. His views are outlined, with a particular emphasis on their political implications, and on his figuration of a politics based on reflecting community voices. It is argued that it is less helpful to view this new communitarianism in the context of sociology, or social science more generally, than to see it as a revival of civic republican ideas which have long influenced discussions in the US public sphere. The implications for democratic arrangements of such a revival are examined: there are problems of compatibility between apolitics of civic virtue and modern representative arrangements. In conclusion, the importance of locating and explaining the success of exhortatory public philosophies in complex and far from communal policy processes is emphasised, because whatever flaws this kind of work may exhibit in academic terms are outweighed by its apparent political utility.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/36081/

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