The Emergence of Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century: A Privileged Moment in the History of England, Scotland, and France

Indiana University Press, 1994 - 164 Seiten
"Through an analysis of the writings of Descartes, Pascal, Hobbes, Grotius, Pufendorf, Locke, and others, and culminating in the leading figures of the eighteenth century Scottish Enlightenment, Becker traces the decline of the medieval conception of society, characterized by the correct performance of duties and obligations and which prized above all else honor, heroism, and charitable benevolence. In its stead emerged a new view of society based on self interest and privacy and in which sociability was reduced to the minimum required to guarantee economic freedom and property rights. The result projected a notion of society as an abstract entity with a life of its own, independent of personal ties of duty and obligation. This concept came to fruition in England and Scotland at what Becker calls a "privileged moment," when political and religious stability combined with rapid commercial expansion. Although there were differences in the ways their societies were transformed, eighteenth-century England and Scotland provide the clearest expression of the newly emerged civil society."--BOOK JACKET.

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Toward an Understanding of Civil Society I
Civil Society and the Case of England and Scotland

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Über den Autor (1994)

MARVIN B. BECKER is Professor of History at the University of Michigan. His previous books include Florence in Transition (two volumes); Medieval Italy: Constraints and Creativity; and Civility and Society in Western Europe, 1300-1600.

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