The Politics of Civil Society: Big Society and Small Government - Second Edition

The Politics of Civil Society: Big Society and Small Government - Second Edition

by Fred Powell

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In this fully revised edition of his groundbreaking book, Fred Powell looks behind “the mirror of power” to discover the real civil society—or Big Society—that lies beneath it. Articulating three forms of civil society—radical, liberal, and conservative—he examines a complex interplay between state and community, arguing that citizens contend for power via civil society. This is both a historic pursuit dating to antiquity and a contemporary democratic struggle between competing visions of modernity, the stakes of which are no less than “real” politics themselves as experienced by everyday citizens. The second edition includes a new concluding chapter on practical and policy implications.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781447307143
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Publication date: 05/15/2013
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Fred Powell is professor of social policy and dean of social science at the National University of Ireland.

Table of Contents


1. Doublethink: the ‘Big Society, Small Government’ debate
2. The renaissance of civil society
3. Modernity, civil society and civic virtue
4. Radical civil society, early social movements and the socialization of the state
5. Nietzsche’s revenge: totalitarian big society
6. Rights talk, new social movements and civic revolts
7. American exceptionalism, multicultural civil society and Plato’s noble lie
8.  Global civil society: myth or reality?


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