Communitarianism emphasizes the need to balance individual rights and interests with that of the community as a whole. It is opposed to individualism and libertarian political perspectives. Unlike liberalism, which construes communities as originating in the voluntary acts of individuals, it emphasizes the role of the community in defining a shared civic engagement. Communitarians argue that values and moral beliefs exist in public space, in which dialogue and criticism take place. Virtue ethics is not a theory which tells us what to do. In social work we should neither have nor want such a thing. Rather virtue ethics guides us by improving the practical reasoning with which social workers act. It directs us, as we are judging what to do, towards emulating practitioners who are more compassionate and caring and generally better than we are. Virtue ethics has a built-in recognition that the moral life is not static, but dynamic and situational.
Ethics and Value Perspectives in Social Work p. 108-119