In the late 1980s, a growing number of academicians and social commentators began to notice a breakdown in the moral fabric of society. Attributing this condition to an excessive emphasis on individualism in the public sphere, they recognized the need for a social philosophy that at once protected individual rights and attended to corresponding responsibilities to the community. Transcending the stalemate between left and right, this new "responsive communitarian" philosophy articulated a middle way between the politics of radical individualism and excessive statism.
In 1990, a group of academicians and social thinkers came together to formulate the core ideas they shared, spelled out in the Responsive Communitarian Platform, and to spur the movement toward a recasting of the social and moral foundations of society. A quarterly journal, The Responsive Community: Rights and Responsibilities, was founded in 1991 to provide a forum for the development and exploration of Communitarian ideas. In 1993, Amitai Etzioni formed The Communitarian Network, a non-partisan, transnational, not-for-profit network of Communitarians, and he has since served as its director.
The Communitarian Network organizes dialogues, develops Communitarian position papers, conducts public meetings, and advises legislatures and community groups regarding issues of moral and social issues of import for the well being of society.
The Communitarian Network is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.