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Sovereign States or Political Communities? Civil Society and Contemporary Politics

by Darrow Schecter Manchester University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 224 pages
AU$42.99 NZ$43.47
Product Status: In Stock Now
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From the dissident movements in Eastern Europe to the Zapatista revolution in Mexico to the revival of Naples and other European cities, it has been argued that civil society will be the key site of political struggle and political change in the twenty-first century.
Drawing on the writings of thinkers ranging from Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach and Marx to Weber, Schmitt, Benjamin, Adorno and Arendt, Sovereign states or political communities? explores the ideas, meaning and history of civil society and its relationship with the state and the economy.

A philosophical approach is used to shed new light on existing interpretations of the 1989 revolutions in the East and the new social movements in the West. The book shows that there are universal forms of politics in contemporary civil societies which elude the politics of interest and identity. Sovereign states or political communities? also explains why these forms of politics are largely obscured by existing institutions such as the market and state, and suggests how they might furnish the bases of a distinctly political form of knowledge rooted in praxis and experience instead of power and contract.

1. Civil society and the origins of modern political theory
2. Violence and the state
3. The public sphere
4. Community as Politics
5. Civil society and recognition

Darrow Schecter is Reader in History in the School of History, History of Art and Philosophy at the University of Sussex