Civil Society and the Public Sphere

Craig Calhoun

in The Oxford Handbook of Civil Society

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195398571
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Civil Society and the Public Sphere

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This article examines the importance of the public sphere theory to civil society. It explains that theories of the public sphere developed alongside both the modern state with its powerful administrative apparatus and the modern capitalist economy with its equally powerful capacity to expand wealth and also inequalities and intensify exploitation of nature and people. It argues that the value of a public sphere rooted in civil society rests on the claims that there are matters of concern important to all citizens and to the organization of their lives together and that states and other powerful organizations might be organized to serve the collective interests of ordinary people rather than state power as such.

Keywords: public sphere; civil society; modern state; capitalist economy; citizens; collective interests; inequalities

Article.  6056 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Public Policy

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