Civil society stands for one of the most ambitious projects and influential concepts relating to the study of modern societies. This series deals with the multiple languages, different layers, and diverse practices of existing and emerging civil societies in Europe and asks how far the renewed interest in the concept can contribute to the gradual evolution of a larger European civil society. The past two decades have witnessed a revival of the concept of "civil society." From East Central Europe to Latin America and East Asia to the recent calls for a "European civil society" and a "global civil society," the concept signifies the need for national and supra - national forms of civic commitment against both unjustified state domination and neo - liberal marketization. Reviewing the long history of the concept, its use in various regional contexts, and its place in critical political theory, this book takes comprehensive stock of these debates and asks about the potential of the concept of civil society in guiding political transformations towards fuller understandings of liberty and democracy.