The Dark Sides of Communitarianism

Rahul Rao

in Third World Protest

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199560370
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191721694 | DOI:
The Dark Sides of Communitarianism

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Drawing on the international society approach, this chapter suggests that the efforts of Western states to impose liberal values on the Third World (described by Andrew Hurrell as ‘coercive solidarism’) have reinforced a Third World attachment to pluralist norms of sovereignty and non‐intervention. Surveying Third World attitudes towards intervention, the chapter assesses the extent to which Third World states have exhibited a preference for pluralism, refuting suggestions that such a preference has waned in the post‐Cold War period. It then demonstrates how moral justifications for pluralism rest on communitarian claims. Finally, the chapter criticizes these justifications, arguing that pluralism licences the authoritarian exercise of power in the name of state‐ and nation‐building. Although justified on communitarian grounds, the praxis of pluralism seems to undermine values that communitarians are keen to defend. Nonetheless, the ongoing experience of coercive solidarism gives authoritarian pluralism a veneer of legitimacy despite its self‐evident brutality.

Keywords: international society; solidarism; pluralism; sovereignty; non‐intervention; communitarianism; state‐building; nation‐building; nationalism; authoritarianism; cultural relativism

Chapter.  15897 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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