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The politics of civil society is an original, thought provoking analysis which challenges one-dimensional neoliberal thinking about civil society, and seeks to rediscover its radical roots. The original edition shifted the scholarly debate onto the new ground, offering an accessible and compelling analysis of one of the central issues of our times. In the second, revised edition of this indispensable book, the author looks behind 'the mirror of power' to discover the reality of civil society - or 'Big Society', as it has become known. He finds not one but three forms of civil society: radical, liberal and conservative. In complex interplay between state and civil society, the author argues that citizens contend for power through civil society. This is both an age-long pursuit dating from antiquity and a contemporary democratic struggle between competing visions of modernity that determines the 'real' in politics, as experienced by the citizens. The book will have wide appeal to a broad cross-disciplinary audience.