Chapter

Real Civil Societies

Jeffrey C. Alexander

in The Civil Sphere

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195162509
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943364 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162509.003.0013
Real Civil Societies

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Civil society has been conceived in three ideal-typical ways. These have succeeded one another in historical time, though each remains a significant intellectual and social force today. This chapter situates these ideal-types temporally and evaluates them theoretically. It then introduces the analytical model at the core of this book, a model which aims to define the relationship between civil society and other kinds of institutional spheres. Only by understanding the boundary relations between civil and uncivil spheres can we push the discussion of civil society from the normative into the empirical realm. And only by understanding civil society in a more “realist” manner can we lay the basis for a critical normative theory about the incompleteness of civil society in turn.

Keywords: civil society; institutional spheres; civil sphere; uncivil sphere; normative theory

Chapter.  5199 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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