A challenge to liberalism? The communitarianism of the Big Society and Blue Labour

Sage, Daniel (2012) A challenge to liberalism? The communitarianism of the Big Society and Blue Labour. Critical Social Policy, 32 (3). pp. 365-382. ISSN 0261-0183 DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0261018312444411

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Abstract

This article explores how in recent years both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party have begun to argue that the institutions of civil society and community should be reinvigorated and strengthened. Such argu- ments take inspiration from the theories of communitarianism, which stress the importance of community and civic life over the more liberal claims of individual rights. For the Conservatives, these ideas have been synthesized under the banner of the ‘Big Society’, while ‘Blue Labour’ – a relatively new political tendency – argues that Labour must stand for a more cooperative and reciprocal civil society based upon community action. It is subsequently argued that although both concepts unques- tionably represent an engagement with communitarian ideas, they face significant challenges. Ultimately, the article concludes that the Big Society faces more profound impediments than Blue Labour which, if it is able to overcome its own difficulties, may well support the foundation for a powerful, communitarian social democracy.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Social Work and Social Policy and Administration
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2016 11:13
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/7985

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