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Modern political thought has bequeathed two conceptions of citizenship, one leading to a conception of citizenship as participation in civil society and the other a view of citizenship as a legal status based on rights and generally defined with respect to the state as opposed to civil society. In republican political theory, from classical thought through the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, citizenship has been largely associated with the idea of the participation of the public in the political life of the community. This has given rise to a strong association of citizenship with civil society and in general with a definition of citizenship that stresses “virtue,” the active dimension of what membership of a political community entails. In contrast to this, in fact, quite ...

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