Continuities and contradictions underpinning Amitai Etzioni’s communitarian influence on New Labour

This chapter shows how Amitai Etzioni continues to reiterate the thoughts and impressions he had gained during his functionalist days as an organisational theorist in the 1950s and 1960s. The Third Way politics of New Labour can only emulate Etzioni's failings by imposing its own personal vision of community. In The New Golden Rule, Etzioni informs the reader that 'all forms of social order draw to some extent on coercive means, "utilitarian" means, and normative means. To establish the means through which the new communitarian society will evolve, Etzioni re-emphasises the need to amend the existing imbalance within society. Etzioni argues that American society requires a functional alternative to traditional virtue. Etzioni claims to have witnessed the rise in a counter-culture of individualism and instrumentalist reasoning that 'provided a normative seal of approval to a focus on the self rather than on responsibilities to the community'.

in The Third Way and beyond