Citizenship in civil society?

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    This article seeks to provide a conceptual framework to complement and guide the empirical analysis of civil society. The core argument is that civil society must be understood, not as a category of (post)industrialized society, but as one of individualized society. Civil society is characterized by individualism that is sustained and protected by the civil values of autonomy and emancipation. This, accordingly, implies that empirical data of civil society can be understood most fruitfully within the framework of individualized society. Classical sociology, however, perceives this very individualism and its values as being antagonistic to its own civic vision. Hence, the crucial question is whether there can be any scope for citizenship, classically understood, within civil society. This article begins with the conceptual reconstruction of the social organization of civil society. Thereafter, two distinct civil society perspectives—mediating structures and Tocquevillianism—are explored to see how civil individualism and citizenship relate to each.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)199-215
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of civil society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2007


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