This book explores the many different strands in the language of civil society from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Through a series of case-studies it investigates the applicability of the term to a wide range of historical settings. These include 'state interference', voluntary associations, economic decision-making, social and economic planning, the 'bourgeois public sphere', civil society in wartime, the 'inclusion' and 'exclusion' of women, andrelations between the state, the voluntary sector, and individual citizens. The contributors suggest that the sharp distinction between civil society and the state, common in much continental thought, was of only limited application in a British context. They show how past understandings of the termwere often very different from (even in some respects the exact opposite of) those held today, arguing that it makes more sense to understand civil society as a phenomenon that varies between differenc cultures and periods, rather than a universally applicable set of principles and procedures.
Introduction Peculiarity? ; 1. From Richard Hooker to Harold Laski: Changing Perceptions of Civil Society in British Political Thought ; 2. Central Government 'Interference': Changing Conceptions, Powers and Concerns, c.1700-1850 ; 3. 'Opinions Deliver'd in Conversation': Conversation, Politics, and Gender in the Late Eighteenth Century ; 4. Civil Society by Accident? Paradoxes of Voluntarism and Pluralism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ; 5. Civil Society in Nineteenth-Century Britain and Germany: L. J. M. Ludlow, Lujo Brentano, and the Labour Question ; 6. Altercation over Civil Society: The Bitter Cry of the Edwardian Middle Classes ; 7. Public or Private Ownership? The Dilemma of Urban Utilities in London and New York 1870-1914 ; 8. British Progressives and Civil Society in India 1905-1914 ; 9. Military Service Tribunals: Civil Society in Action 1916-1918 ; 10. The Countryside, Planning, and Civil Society 1926-1947 ; 11. Women and Civil Society: Feminist Responses to the Irish Constitution of 1937 ; 12. Civil Society and the Clerisy: Christian Elites and National Culture c.1930-1950 ; 13. 'Simple Solutions to Complex Problems': The Greater London Council and the Greater London Development Plan 1965-1973 ; 14. Civil Society and the Good Citizen: Competing Conceptions of Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Britain ; Bibliography ; Index