The Politics of Civil Society: Big Society and Small Government - Second Edition (Paperback)

The Politics of Civil Society: Big Society and Small Government - Second Edition By Fred Powell Cover Image
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In this fully revised edition of his groundbreaking book, Fred Powell looks behind “the mirror of power” to discover the real civil society—or Big Society—that lies beneath it. Articulating three forms of civil society—radical, liberal, and conservative—he examines a complex interplay between state and community, arguing that citizens contend for power via civil society. This is both a historic pursuit dating to antiquity and a contemporary democratic struggle between competing visions of modernity, the stakes of which are no less than “real” politics themselves as experienced by everyday citizens. The second edition includes a new concluding chapter on practical and policy implications.

About the Author

Fred Powell is professor of social policy and dean of social science at the National University of Ireland.

Praise For…

“A book that will be on the reading lists of political science undergraduates . . . [and] it should be read by those interested in the development and politics of the welfare state.”
— Journal of Social Policy

“Powell has spent many hours . . . reading vast amounts of academic and media print, trying to make sense of the various shifts in power and democratic forms evident in new civil society energies as diverse as the World Social Forums, Arab Spring, Occupy, and the Tea Party. For that this reader is grateful. Powell’s exploration enables the reader to meaningfully theorize and reflect on such recent events. The book explores a great deal of very complex theoretical debate and does so in very accessible manner. He makes good creative use of often long quotations from some of the emerging literature (Badiou, for example) and from the classics, but also draws on contemporary media (he is clearly a Guardian reader). I particularly liked his liberal use of George Orwell. The result is a lively read and a thorough investigation of the contemporary literature. . . . Powell poses big questions. He is provocative and he is not afraid to come off the fence. . . . The task of civil society is to produce the new political imaginary for the 21st century and this book is a worthy contribution to this challenge of creating a ‘social left.'”
— Mary P. Murphy, National University of Ireland Maynooth

“Offers analytic tools to comprehend the economic and political context within which we live and invites us to explore the inherent complexity of civil society activities.”
— Voluntary Sector Review

“This is a closely argued and fascinating book, and we are in Powell’s debt for updating his treatise.”
— Citizen’s Income Newsletter 2015
Product Details
ISBN: 9781447307143
ISBN-10: 1447307143
Publisher: Policy Press
Publication Date: May 15th, 2013
Pages: 224
Language: English