Ideology and Community: The Communitarian Hi-Jacking of Community Justice

Published 12/06/2002
Type Article
Author(s) Simon Green
Corresponding Authors Simon Green, The University of Hull

This article aims to explore the ways in which the concept of community is utilised within criminal justice. The argument will be made that Amitai Etzioni’s communitarian ideals underpin the current application of the concept at a political and policy development level. Etzioni’s communitarianism offers a vision of community where social harmony is engendered through a careful balance of individual rights and responsibilities. This article will provide a critical analysis of this vision by questioning both its philosophy of community and the application of some of its ideas in the field of community justice. The concern is that an increasingly moralistic invocation of individual responsibilities has hijacked the concept of community and threatens to subvert community justice.