This chapter explains that civil society exists when individuals and groups are free to form organisations that function independently and that can mediate between citizens and the state. It then presents the five versions of civil society. It clarifies that civil society is the product of modernity which essentially means the modes of social life that emerged in Europe from the Renaissance onwards, percolating outwards to envelop most of the rest of the world. It discusses how civil society provides an intellectual tool to excavate the archaeology of welfare in search of clues to the genealogy of social policy and its future academic potential.
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