The market, the state and the third sector have all been heralded as central agents in civilising modern societies. It has been claimed that participation in voluntary associations enables people to learn civic skills and, in effect, to become more “civilized”. Likewise, there are claims about the civilising effects of doux commerce, and about the ability of trade and commerce to mitigate conflicts and convert them into peaceful competition. And according to many political and legal theories, democratic states and their institutions are the final bulwark of civil virtues. However, the voluntary sector can be a source of particularism; the market, of exploitation; and the state, of oppression.
This book, which brings together authors from across Europe, argues that such sector perspectives should be left aside and examines how the civicness and civility of organisations and individuals can be identified and encouraged in any institutional setting.
Crossing traditional spheres and disciplines, the authors explore the concept of “civicness” to search for the source of our modern civil society. The publication is a result of the European Network of Excellence CINEFOGO (Civil society and New Forms of Governance).
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