Civil Society, Municipal Government and the State: Enshrinement, Empowerment and Legitimacy, Scotland, 1800-1929

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    Abstract

    Civil society remains the most challenging and all-pervading of concepts, yet too rarely is it examined empirically. The potential of civil society is that it better allows understanding of local political structures as well as cross-class associational activity. Its alternatives, while many, are principally ‘public life’ and ‘influence’, both of which have their own highly respected traditions. It is argued here that civil society offers a powerful analysis of structure and action in the urban world, and that it is one mediated by municipal government. To operationalize this definition, this article will introduce three further concepts: ‘enshrinement’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘legitimacy’. Each of these is linked to the relationship of the municipal state with that at Westminster, the formal mechanism through which the stability of civil society in nineteenth-century Britain was negotiated
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)348-367
    Number of pages20
    JournalUrban History
    Volume25
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998

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