chapter  1
Pages 24

The ‘quest’ for community, the anxiety that motivates communitarianism as an ideology, is not new in the intellectual West. It was a preoccupation of major thinkers of the nineteenth century. Its re-emergence in the early 1970s among academic political philosophers in the West was provoked, according to Bell in this volume, by the publication of John Rawls’s, A Theory of Justice (1971). By the mid-1980s, David Miller notes, there is plenty of communitarianism around and ‘it was becoming common to speak of communitarianism as an ideological rival to liberalism’ (2000: 87). As Miller’s comment implies, there is by now an extensive literature on communitarianism that defies any review and summary, without doing excessive violence to the nuances of the different arguments and positions. Consequently, only a brief review of the points that will set the context of the present volume will be undertaken here.