Civil Society and Public Work

Harry C. Boyte

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 Public Work

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This article examines the relevance of public work to civil society. It explains that the concept of civil society as a home for the deliberative citizen and the related idea of volunteer service has gained currency as an alternative to the rancor and fragmentation which are the stock-in-trade of public culture. It outlines the profound challenges that face democracy against the onslaught of a spreading consumer culture and details the limits of civil society and the deliberative citizen. It argues that there are two very different ideas of civic agency embedded in the recent history of civil society, corresponding to different concepts of the citizen and civic education.

Keywords: public work; civil society; deliberative citizen; volunteer service; public culture; democracy; consumer culture; civic agency; citizen education; civic education

Article.  5630 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Policy ; Public Administration

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