Abstract and Keywords
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.
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