Religion Past and Present

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Civil Society
(418 words)

[German Version]

In antiquity, societas civilis was understood as the non-despotic sphere of the politically active citizen and was considered to be civilized through the rule of law (Law and jurisprudence). In the 18th century, civil society referred to an independent socio-political entity that existed as a counterpart to the state. Primarily through the influence of K. Marx, the significance of the German concept of civil society (Bürgertum, Bourgeoisie) is no longer programmatic, but only historical in nature. It was above all this programmatic quality which…

Cite this page
Schieder, Rolf, “Civil Society”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 30 June 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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