Introduction: Civil Society in British History: Paradigm or Peculiarity?
This chapter begins with a discussion of the concept of ‘civil society’. It argues that certain assumptions about the definitive attributes of civil society often ascribed to it by its current theorists and protagonists are — at least in the case of the history of Britain — often inapplicable or false. The chapters in this volume demonstrate certain institutional and cultural traits and practices that correspond to some past and present definitions of civil society; and they may help in creating a picture of how far the term may or may not be applicable to the history of Britain.
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