The state, compartmentalization and the turn to local community: A critique of the political thought of Alasdair MacIntyre

The European Legacy 10 (5):485-501 (2005)
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Alasdair MacIntyre condemns modern politics, specifically liberalism and the institutions of the liberal state, as irredeemably fallen. His core argument is that the liberal state encourages a disempowering ?compartmentalization? of people's everyday roles and activities that undermines the intersubjective conditions of human flourishing. MacIntyre's alternative is an Aristotelian politics centred on the notion of ?practice.? Defined by justice and solidarity, this politics can only be realized, he claims, within local communities which oppose and resist the dictates of the administrative state and capitalist market. Here it is argued that MacIntyre's notion of ?practice? represents a compelling ethical-political ideal. However, the belief that this ideal is best realized within local communities is rejected. In privileging local community, MacIntyre relies on a reductive view of modern states and overlooks the institutional conditions of a just polity. Against this, it is argued that a politics of human flourishing cannot succeed without an emancipatory transformation of large-scale, trans-communal institutions, in particular the state



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Keith Breen
Queen's University, Belfast

Citations of this work

Practices, Firms and Varieties of Capitalism.Russell Keat - 2008 - Philosophy of Management 7 (1):77-91.
Ethics, Markets, and MacIntyre.Russell Keat - 2008 - Analyse & Kritik 30 (1):243-257.

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References found in this work

Is patriotism a virtue?Alasdair MacIntyre - 1984 - In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology. Routledge, in Association with the Open University.
The spectre of communitarianism.Alasdair MacIntyre - 1995 - Radical Philosophy 70:35.
Alienation: The Concept and Its Reception. [REVIEW][author unknown] - 1991 - Review of Metaphysics 44 (3):651-653.

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