The Spirit of Community: Rights, Responsibilities, and the Communitarian Agenda [NOOK Book]


America needs to move from me to we.
In The Spirit of Community, renowned professor and former White House Fellow Amitai Etzioni, the founder of the Communitarian movement, lays out a blueprint for how in the 1990s Americans can move forward—together.
The Spirit of Community calls for a reawakening of our allegiance to the shared values and institutions that ...
See more details below
The Spirit of Community: Rights, Responsibilities, and the Communitarian Agenda

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99 price


America needs to move from me to we.
In The Spirit of Community, renowned professor and former White House Fellow Amitai Etzioni, the founder of the Communitarian movement, lays out a blueprint for how in the 1990s Americans can move forward—together.
The Spirit of Community calls for a reawakening of our allegiance to the shared values and institutions that sustain us—from our marriages and families to our schools and our neighborhoods, and extending to our nation itself. In proposing a new balance between our rights as individuals and our social responsibilities, this controversial, groundbreaking book articulates the emerging social attitudes of the nineties.
We have many rights as individuals, Etzioni declares, but we have responsibilities to our communities, too. The right to be tried before a jury of our peers, for instance, is connected to our willingness to serve on one. We as a nation have in recent years forgotten such basic truths of our democratic social contract. And what we need now is a revival of the idea that small sacrifices by individuals can create large benefits for all of us.
We must have the moral responsibility to respect our families and fight to preserve them, to value our children and their futures, and to be willing to espouse and teach commonly held moral values. Etzioni faces the tough issues that arise when the rights of individuals are weighed against those of the community, from free speech versus restrictions on hate speech to the right of police to conduct random checks of motorists’ sobriety, from drug and HIV testing to mandatory national service.
A movement that has already attracted the attention of policymakers as varied as Al Gore, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jack Kemp, and Henry Cisneros, Communitarianism provides a call to action and a perceptive analysis of American politics and society today. And The Spirit of Community is vital reading for any American who is engaged with the future of the country in the next decade.

A regular guest on "The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour" and NPR, Etzioni explores the rapidly growing grass-roots political movement that calls for a new balance between individual rights and social responsibilty. "Shows us . . . how a philosophy based on shared values and mutual understanding can restore our nation's promise and moral leadership."--Sen. Bill Bradley.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Arguing that Americans must assume responsibilities commensurate with their rights, Etzioni, a founder of the Responsive Community movement, accessibly describes the movement's tenets of societal reconstruction. Communitarians, he avers, are neither majoritarians nor puritans, but believe that societal morality must be shored up through policies that strengthen child care, discourage divorce, promote moral education in schools and require high school graduates to perform national service. He calls for local communities to foster volunteerism and for a balance between self-help and social justice. Criticizing libertarians, Etzioni suggests moderate restraints on privacy like sobriety checkpoints and greater testing for HIV. To combat hate speech, he encourages not censorship but more speech. Perhaps least controversial is his Naderesque advocacy of public financing of elections, a ban on PACs and free broadcast time for candidates. Etzioni slights the question of income redistribution and the influence of pop culture, but his manifesto is a worthy starting point for debate. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Etzioni, who has acquired an international reputation for his advocacy of the ``communitarian'' point of view, defines communitarianism as a movement designed to ``bring about the changes in values, habits, and public policies that will allow us to do for society what the environmental movement seeks to do for nature: to safeguard and enhance our future.'' In this book, he sets forth an agenda for correcting the ``imbalance'' between rights and responsibilities in American society. His agenda is focused in particular on rebuilding families and schools to instill in our citizens a sense of responsibility to the interests of the community as a whole. While many of Etzioni's recommendations are grounded in common sense, his book fails to grapple with the many important philosophical issues raised by his dual critique of liberalism and conservatism. A more satisfying study from a similar perspective is Philip Selznick's The Moral Commonwealth ( LJ 10/1/92). Recommended for larger libraries.-- Kent Worcester, Social Science Research Council, New York
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307830494
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Publication date: 4/3/2013
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 323
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

AMITAI ETZIONI is a professor at George Washington University, a former White House adviser, and the author of ten previous books on social policy and philosophy, including Capitol Corruption and The Moral Dilemma. He is a founding editor of the Communitarian quarterly, The Responsive Community.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction A New Moral, Social, Public Order - Without Puritanism or Oppression 1
Pt. 1 Shoring Up Morality
1 The Moral Voice 23
2 The Communitarian Family 54
3 The Communitarian School 89
4 Back to We 116
5 Rebuilding Community Institutions 134
Pt. II Too Many Rights, Too Few Responsibilities
6 New Responsibilities: Public Safety and Public Health 163
7 Hate Speech: Nonlegal Remedies 192
Pt. III The Public Interest
8 Communitarian Politics 209
9 What Is to Be Done? 226
In Conclusion 247
The Responsive Communitarian Platform: Rights and Responsibilities 253
Notes 269
Acknowledgments 313
Index 315
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)