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The Civil Sphere$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162509.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021

Real Civil Societies

Real Civil Societies

Dilemmas of Institutionalization

(p.23) Chapter 2 Real Civil Societies
The Civil Sphere

Jeffrey C. Alexander

Oxford University Press

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

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