By Jose Harris
This e-book explores the numerous assorted strands within the language of civil society from the 16th to the 20 th centuries. via a sequence of case-studies it investigates the applicability of the time period to a variety of ancient settings. The participants exhibit how prior understandings of the time period have been usually very various from (even in a few respects the complete opposite of) these held this day.
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Additional resources for Civil Society in British History: Ideas, Identities, Institutions
65–6, 270. , chs. II and III. , 65, 268–75. ‘Civil society’ disappeared from Laski’s subsequent works, though the development of his views about the diffusion of sovereignty not merely downwards but upwards to international agencies, and the evolution of multi-cultural societies guaranteed by those agencies, bore a recognizable resemblance to some models of civil society current at the present day (Harold Laski, A Grammar of Politics (1925), chs. 2–3, 6–7, 11). 101 Though see Ch. 11, below. 97 Political Thought, Hooker to Laski 35 that—in Britain at least—the history of civil society over more than three centuries had been so closely identiﬁed with the activities of government.
On the contrary, civil society was explicitly a ‘Body Politick’. 45 David Hume, writing in the lowlands of Scotland a generation later, poured scorn on the stereotype of distinguishing ‘civil’ from ‘natural’ institutions—both were equally the invention of men, and ‘civil society’ was the product not of abstractions like ‘consent’ and 43 Reﬂexions upon . . Maxims for Civil Society, 1–2, 91, 158, 213, 239–43, 284–5; Mandeville, Fable of the Bees, 349. 44 David Hume, Political Essays, ed. by Knud Haakonssen (Cambridge, 1994), 66.
It reveals even more than Leviathan the extent to which Hobbes equated ‘civil society’ with governing institutions, and his debt to Roman civil law (Thomas Hobbes, De Cive; or, Philosophicall Rudiments concerning Government and Society, ed. by Howard Warrender (Oxford, 1983). The term ‘City’ was frequently used by civil society theorists throughout the 17th and 18th centuries to mean not an urban community but a polity or polis. 22 Leviathan, ed. by M. Oakeshott (Oxford, 1957), 109, 155. , 211, 212, 214–15.
Civil Society in British History: Ideas, Identities, Institutions by Jose Harris