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date: 19 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Weber is not generally recognized as a democratic theorist of civil society. Drawing from his religious and political writings, this chapter reconstructs his vision of pluralistically organized civil society. As such, Weber’s civil society was primarily a site of civic education and leadership selection where dynamic culture and a system of contestation would help arrest the bureaucratic petrification of modern democracy. Based on this reconstruction, Weber’s deeply political vision is brought to bear upon contemporary theories of civil society, including the partisanship theory of late, in order to explore the relevance of his politics of civil society in a time of troubled democracy.

Keywords: sect, America, citizenship, voluntary association, civic education, civility, impartiality, partisanship, public sphere

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