Critiques of Depersonalisation: 1920s–1980s

  • Henry TamEmail author


Henry Tam explains that although communitarian ideas had by early twentieth century contributed to social, scientific and political development, progress was threatened by different forms of depersonalisation. He describes the origins and significance of three counter-moves developed to embed persons as interdependent beings in pursuit of common wellbeing. The first of these involves thinkers who took aim at doctrines that stripped authenticity and respect out of human interactions (Buber, Mounier, Macmurray, Arendt). The second comprises those who argued for better participatory opportunities through improved economic regulation, social parity, shared security, and guarantees of dignified treatment (Tawney, Polanyi, Pateman, Arizmendiarrieta, G.D.H. Cole, Martin Luther King, Michael Young). The third includes critics of attempts to invoke the atomistic self as a foundation for justice (MacIntyre, Sandel, Walzer, and Taylor).


  1. Arendt, H. (1958). The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Arendt, H. (1973). The Origins of Totalitarianism. Orlando: Harcourt Brace & Co.Google Scholar
  3. Ayo, I. S. C. (2016). Mondragon’s Third Way: Reply to Sharryn Kasmir. Global Dialogue, 6(3).
  4. Bartholomew, J. (2006). The Welfare State We’re In. London: Politico’s Books.Google Scholar
  5. Beveridge, W. (1942). Social Insurance and Allied Services. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  6. Bradley, K. (1982). Cooperation at Work: The Mondragon Experience. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Educational Books.Google Scholar
  7. Buber, M. (1970). I and Thou (W. Kaufmann, Trans.). New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  8. Buber, M. (1996). Paths in Utopia. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Butler, L. (2015, June 1). Michael Young, the Institute of Community Studies, and the Politics of Kinship. Twentieth Century British History, 26(2), 203–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Canovan, M. (1992). Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cole, G. D. H. (1920). The Social Theory. London: Methuen & Co.Google Scholar
  12. Cole, G. D. H. (1972). Self-Government in Industry. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  13. Deweer, D. (2013). The Political Theory of Personalism: Maritain and Mounier on Personhood and Citizenship. International Journal of Philosophy and Theology, 74(2), 108–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Etzioni, A. (1999, July). Communitarian Elements in Select Works of Martin Buber. The Journal of Value Inquiry, 33(2), 151–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fielding, M. (2012, December). Education as If People Matter: John Macmurray, Community and the Struggle for Democracy. Oxford Review of Education, 38(6), 675–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gilmore, B. (2004, June 8). Nostalgia for Reagan Distorts His Policies Against Blacks. The Progressive.
  17. Harris, J., & Alexander, D. (1991). Beyond Capitalism and Socialism: The Communitarian Alternative. Environments, 21(2), 29–37.Google Scholar
  18. Harvey, D. (2007). A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hayes, C. (2018, August 15). Here Are 10 Times President Trump’s Comments Have Been Called Racist. USA Today.
  20. Kasmir, S. (2016). The Mondragon Cooperatives: Successes and Challenges. Global Dialogue, 6(1).
  21. King, D. S. (1987). The New Right: Politics, Markets and Citizenship. Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. King, M. L. (1968, Spring). Honoring Dr. Du Bois. In Freedomways, Second Quarter, VIII, No. 2. New York: Freedomways Associates.Google Scholar
  23. King, M. L. (2010). Where Do We Go from Here? From Chaos to Community. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kinsky, F. (2001). Federalism and the Personalist Tradition. In H. Tam (Ed.), Progressive Politics in the Global Age (pp. 54–65). Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  25. Lartey, J. (2018, January 12). Racism and Donald Trump: A Common Thread Running Throughout His Career and Life. The Guardian.
  26. Macpherson, C. B. (1962). The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Macpherson, C. B. (1987). The Rise and Fall of Economic Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. MacIntyre, A. (1981). After Virtue. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  29. MacIntyre, A. (1988). Whose Justice? Which Rationality?. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  30. MacIntyre, A. (1990). Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  31. MacIntyre, A. (1992). Justice as a Virtue: Changing Conceptions. In S. Avineri & A. de-Shalit (Eds.), Communitarianism and Individualism (pp. 51–64). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Macmurray, J. (1932). Freedom in the Modern World. London: Faber.Google Scholar
  33. Macmurray, J. (1935). Reason and Emotion. London: Faber.Google Scholar
  34. Macmurray, J. (1996). The Personal World (P. Conford, Ed.). Edinburgh: Floris Books.Google Scholar
  35. Macmurray, J. (2012, December). Learning to Be Human. Oxford Review of Education, 38(6), 665–674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mounier, E. (1938). A Personalist Manifesto. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  37. Mounier, E. (1952). Personalism (P. Mairet, Trans.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  38. Mulhall, S., & Swift, A. (1992). Liberals & Communitarians. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  39. Nozick, R. (1974). Anarchy, State & Utopia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Palmer, T. G. (Ed.). (2012). After the Welfare State. Ottawa, IL: Jameson Books-Students of Liberty.Google Scholar
  41. Pateman, C. (1970). Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pérotin, V. (2016). What Do We Really Know About Worker Co-operatives? Cooperatives UK.
  43. Polanyi, K. (1957). The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  44. Rawls, J. (1972). A Theory of Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Sandel, M. (1982). Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Sandel, M. (1996). Democracy’s Discontent. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Schumacher, E. F. (1993). Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as If People Mattered. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  48. Strang, H., & Braithwaite, J. (Eds.). (2001). Restorative Justice and Civil Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Tam, H. (2015). Against Power Inequalities: A History of the Progressive Struggle. London: Birkbeck.Google Scholar
  50. Tawney, R. H. (1927). The Acquisitive Society. London: G. Bell & Sons.Google Scholar
  51. Tawney, R. H. (1964). Equality. London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  52. Taylor, C. (1982). Rationality. In M. Hollis & S. Lukes (Eds.), Rationality and Relativism (pp. 87–105). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  53. Taylor, C. (1985). Philosophical Papers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Taylor, C. (1989). Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Thompson, D. J. (2003, November–December). Italy’s Emilia Romagna Clustering Co-op Development. Cooperative Grocer, No. 109.
  56. Timmins, N. (1996). The Five Giants—A Biography of the Welfare State. London: Fontana Press.Google Scholar
  57. Titmuss, R. M. (1967). Commitment to Welfare. London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  58. Walzer, M. (1983). Spheres of Justice. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  59. Walzer, M. (1987). Interpretation and Social Criticism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Young, M. (1994). The Rise of the Meritocracy. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  61. Young, M., & Lemos, G. (1997). The Communities We Have Lost and Can Regain. London: Lemos & Crane.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations