T.H. Green's community of rights: An essay on the complexity of liberalism

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Abstract

It is a common communitarian and feminist criticism of liberalism that its preoccupation with rights is incompatible with and even hostile to the possibility of community. I claim that the inseparability of rights and community is a consistent liberal position. To that end, I explore Green's liberal argument. Though he places community at the heart of liberalism, this move is bound up with reconstructing the institution of rights which, in turn, is bound up with transforming some key liberal ideas, such as 'interest' and 'state interference'. Transformed both in form and content, rights are constitutive of and are essential to the realization of Green's ideal of community. Indeed, community of rights is itself a common good. Though the explicit object of the article is to examine Green's liberal argument, my implicit goal is to indicate the complex nature of liberalism which is misconceived if we freeze it into a fixed conceptual basket of ideas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-287
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Political Ideologies
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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