By Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann
"Civil Society" has been a world catchphrase because the finish of the chilly battle, and is a scorching subject between lecturers and politicians. knowing the evolution of this idea within the eighteenth and 19th centuries is key to its learn, no matter if within the context of heritage, sociology, politics, or diplomacy. This concise and incisive advent to the transnational historical past of civil society is vital examining for college kids and students alike.
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Extra resources for Civil Society: 1750-1914 (Studies in European History)
The sociable societies of the ancien régime did have an egalitarian ethos, but they were not harbingers of democracy. By inventing ‘the social’ as a distinct sphere 22 Sociable Society separate from politics and absolutist hierarchy, enlightened sociable society could enjoy the theatre of equality with its tone of transgression and excitement, without seeking to undermine the existing political order [44: p. 33]. Such a pointed view that emphasizes how much Enlightenment sociability was a product of its time, contrasts with another interpretation suggested most forcefully by Margaret Jacob.
Ever since 1789, despotism, in their eyes, always threatened from both ‘above’ and from ‘below’ [14: p. 142]. This elitist aspect of nineteenth-century liberalism produced a duality that manifested itself in the clubs’ social practices: liberalism was characterized, according to Dagmar Herzog, by a ‘simultaneous tolerance and intolerance – the elastic, always potentially inclusive aspects, and the continually contested and renegotiated exclusions’ [72: p. 83]. In 1848 the concept of ‘association’ became a general solution to the political crises of the time.
Yet 28 Intimacy and Exclusion even in the case of England some historians have challenged the idea that there is a close connection between voluntary associations and the rise of the middle classes. Such a connection is certainly the case for industrial centres like Leeds, but in other provincial towns associations much more frequently served to bring the old and new elites together [37: pp. ; 89]. This is precisely one of the reasons they were so popular. Sociability united Anglicans and Dissenters, Whigs and Tories, and businessmen and gentlemen by promoting social harmony instead of conflict.