The Civil Society Reader (Civil Society: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives)
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Virginia Hodgkinson and Michael Foley have assembled a definitive collection of 24 readings from the writings of thinkers who have shaped the civil society tradition in Western political thought through the ages. Their clear, intelligent introduction establishes a framework for understanding the complex and perennial debate over conditions of citizenship and the character of the good society. The text moves from the origins of the debate, a consideration of Aristotle’s vision of political order, the polis, through the “civic republicanism” of Machiavelli and his English and American followers. It also discusses Hobbes’s and Montesquieu’s conceptions of natural law and the social contract, Immanuel Kant and Adam Ferguson and the emergence of the modern notion of civil society in the late 18th century, and the thoughts and theories of Hegel, Marx, and Gramsci.
Contemporary discussion of civil society in the US started with Berger, Newhaus, and others who addressed the role of intermediary institutions and the political process. In the 1980s, especially as the Cold War ended, writing on civil society exploded. The anthology tracks the key works that have influenced public dialogue in this era. Chapters by Walzer, Barber, Putnam, Almond and Verba, Shils, and others describe the role of association in civil society and its role in democratic governance. As the concept of “civil society” grows ever more prominent in academic and public considerations of politics and political organization, citizen participation, political alienation, voluntary organizations, privatization, government deregulation, and “faith-based” charities, Civil Society: A Reader is the essential historical and theoretical text.
peace can neither be inaugurated nor secured without a general agreement between the nations; thus a particular kind of league, which we might call a pacific federation (foedus pacificum), is required. It would differ from a peace treaty (pactum pacis) in that the latter terminates one war, whereas the former would seek to end all wars for good. This federation does not aim to acquire any power like that of a state, but merely to preserve and secure the freedom of each state in itself, along with
difficulty were to find something to do: They fix on some frivolous occupation, as if there were nothing that deserved to be done: They consider what tends to the good of their fellow creatures, as a disadvantage to themselves: They fly from every scene, in which any efforts of vigor are required, or in which they might be allured to perform any service to their country. We misapply our compassion in pitying the poor; it were much more justly applied to the rich, who become the first victims of
immediately flowing from moral principles. Whatever has a tendency to promote the civil intercourse of nations, by an exchange of benefits, is a subject as worthy of philosophy as of politics. Commerce is no other than the traffic of two individuals, multiplied on a scale of numbers; and by the same rule that nature intended the intercourse of two, she intended that of all. For this purpose she has distributed the materials of manufactures and commerce, in various and distant parts of a nation
esteem and adoption of mankind. By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one or two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives
werden,” Einundzwanzig Bogen, p. 57. [Marx] Emphases added by Marx. 3. Chamber of Deputies. Debate of 26th December, 1840. [Marx] 4. Bauer, Die Judenfrage, p. 64. [Marx] 5. Ibid., p. 65. [Marx] 6. Loc. cit. [Marx] Hodgkinson: The Civil Society Reader page 99 Marx: “On the Jewish Question” • 99 religion its power to excommunicate and it will no longer exist.”7 “Mr. Martin du Nord has seen, in the suggestion to omit any mention of Sunday in the law, a proposal to declare that Christianity has