In this book one of Europe's foremost sociologists offers a profound and accessible overview of the trajectory of European societies, East and West, since the end of World War II. Combining theoretical depth with factual analysis, Göran Therborn addresses the questions that underpin an understanding of the nature of European modernity, including: To what extent is the period 1945-2000 producing fundamental change and what are the areas of continuity? Have the societies of Europe become more similar to others on the globe or more distinctively European? What are the prospects of Europe after decades of postwar change and the end of the Cold War? Issues covered include the division of paid and unpaid labour,

Civil Societies and Collective Action

Civil societies and collective action

Alexis de Tocqueville was one of the first, a hundred and fifty years ago, who emphasized the significance and the social preconditions of associations in modernity. He located the latter in the egalitarian New World and made a perceptive comparative observation: ‘Partout où à la tête d'une entreprise nouvelle, vous voyez en France le gouvernement et en Angleterre un grand seigneur, comptez que vous apercevrez aux Etats-Unis une association’.1 Other things being equal, the more socially – not necessarily incomewise – egalitarian a country, i.e. the more widely spread resources of action and communication among the population, the more associative it should be.

In relation to the New Worlds, Europe was, of course, more status-ridden, but European ...

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