Civil Society: The Critical History of an Idea

In the absence of noble public goals, admired leaders, and compelling issues, many warn of a dangerous erosion of civil society. Are they right? What are the roots and implications of their insistent alarm? How can public life be enriched in a period marked by fraying communities, widespread apathy, and unprecedented levels of contempt for politics? How should we be thinking about civil society?

Civil Society examines the historical, political, and theoretical evolution of how civil society has been understood for the past two and a half millennia. From Aristotle and the Enlightenment philosophers to Colin Powell's Volunteers for America, Ehrenberg provides an indispensable analysis of the possibilities-and limits-of what this increasingly important idea can offer to contemporary political affairs.

Civil Society is the winner of the Michael J. Harrington Award from the Caucus for a New Political Science of APSA for the best book published during 1999.

Tavaana Publications Click here to read Tavaana's exclusive translation of "Civil Society: The Critical History of an Idea"

What Tavaana Students Have to Say

Ignorance grows in a closed environment, and this type of environment causes many problems for societies like Iran. I participated in this course to learn methods and strategies that aim to create an environment that makes it possible for human beings to think freely.
- Shadi, Technology and Human Rights course graduate

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