- The Oxford Handbooks of political science
- About the Contributors
- Elaborating the “New Institutionalism”
- Rational Choice Institutionalism
- Historical Institutionalism
- Constructivist Institutionalism
- Network Institutionalism
- Old Institutionalisms
- The State and State-Building
- Development of Civil Society
- Economic Institutions
- Exclusion, Inclusion, and Political Institutions
- Analyzing Constitutions
- Comparative Constitutions
- American Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
- Comparative Federalism
- Territorial Institutions
- Executives—The American Presidency
- Executives In Parliamentary Government
- Comparative Executive–Legislative Relations
- Public Bureaucracies
- The Welfare State
- The Regulatory State?
- Legislative Organization
- Comparative Legislative Behavior
- Comparative Local Governance
- Judicial Institutions
- The Judicial Process and Public Policy
- Political Parties In and Out of Legislatures
- Electoral Systems
- Direct Democracy
- International Political Institutions
- International Security Institutions: Rules, Tools, Schools, or Fools?
- International Economic Institutions
- International NGOs
- Encounters With Modernity
- About Institutions, Mainly, but not Exclusively, Political
- Thinking Institutionally
- Political Institutions—Old and New
- Name Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
This article studies the development of civil society, starting from the end of the Roman Republic until modern times. It identifies four traditions of writing about civil society. This article determines that civil society remains to be a curiously obtuse, malleable, and much contested idea that is difficult to define categorically, by reference to either what it is or what it is not. It also shows that due to the gradual build-up of diverse meanings over the centuries, it is impossible to treat civil society as a Weberian ‘ideal type’.
Jose Harris is Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford.
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