chapter  5
Liberalism, Communitarianism, and Postliberal Theory
WithJean Hampton
Pages 48

This chapter shows what liberalism is and what liberal theorists agree about, even when they disagree about the nature of distributive justice or the characteristics of just government. It discusses a number of Communitarians forms. However, liberals have good responses to their communitarian critics, and they have raised powerful objections to all forms of communitarianism. Their objections challenge those who advocate the communitarian approach to develop that approach more successfully than it has been thus far. The chapter reviews what to be a new and nonliberal way of thinking about how to structure the ideal society, pioneered by Marxists, civil rights thinkers, and feminist critics of liberal society. This new view shares with liberalism the commitment to freedom and equality but has a quite different conception of the role and nature of the state. The chapter shows that postliberalism is a promising alternative to both liberal and communitarian ways of thinking about the ideal state.