International Encyclopedia of Civil Society

2010 Edition
| Editors: Helmut K. Anheier, Stefan Toepler

Civil Society History III: Renaissance

  • Curtis Sarles
Reference work entry

Main Characteristics of the Period

The Renaissance is a time when the intellectual community of Europe rediscovered the works of classical philosophy and early Christianity, and took their originality and greatness as a source of inspiration. This era saw the founding of the humanities in their contemporary form, and was propelled forward by a creative tension between the glorification of God and the glorification of humankind. The era yielded some of Europe’s greatest artists, political thinkers, and religious dissidents.

Beginning in the late fourteenth century, in Florence, the movement spread throughout Italy and much of Europe, extending to the Nordic countries and as far east as Poland. It arose out of an intellectual climate in which religious scholars engaged in doctrinaire disputes over the interpretation of sacred texts, and seldom bothered to take a fresh look at the texts themselves. To wrest itself from this mire, the city-states of Italy enlisted the help of Byzantine and...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References/Further Readings

  1. Aron, R. (1965). Main currents of sociological thought (Vol. 1). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  2. Black, A. (2003). Guild and state: European political thought from the twelfth century to the present. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Bodin, J. (1955). Six books of the commonwealth. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Burckhardt, J. (1990). The civilization of the renaissance in Italy. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  5. Calhoun, C. (1992). Introduction. In C. Calhoun (Ed.), Habermas and the public sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Calhoun, C. (2002). Civil society/public sphere: History of the concept. In N. Smelser & P. Baltes (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  7. Castiglione, B. (1959). Book of the courtier. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, J., & Arato, A. (1992). Civil society and political theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Coing, H. (1981). Remarks on the history of foundations and their role in the promotion of learning. Minerva, 19(2), 271–281.Google Scholar
  10. Erasmus, D. (2008). A handbook on good manners for children. London: Preface.Google Scholar
  11. Erasmus, D. (1942). The praise of folly. New York: W. J. Black.Google Scholar
  12. Ferguson, A. (1966). An essay on the history of civil society. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Ferguson, W. (1962). Europe in transition, 1300–1520. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  14. Ferguson, W. (1948). The renaissance in historical thought. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  15. Habermas, J. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hobbes, T. (1998). Leviathan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Luther, M. (1961). Selections from his writings. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  18. Machiavelli, N. (1984). Discourses. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  19. Machiavelli, N. (1985). The prince. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  20. Mann, M. (1984). The autonomous power of the state: Its origins, mechanisms, and results. Archives Européennes de Sociologie, 25(2), 185–213.Google Scholar
  21. Montaigne, M. (1958). Complete essays. Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. More, T. (1975). Utopia. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  23. Muir, E. (1999). The sources of civil society in Italy. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 29(3), 379–406.Google Scholar
  24. Pocock, J. (1975). The Machiavellian moment: Florentine political thought and the Atlantic republican tradition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Skinner, Q. (2004). Visions of politics, Volume 2, Renaissance virtues. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Wallace, D. (1997). Chaucerian polity: Absolutist lineages and associational forms in England and Italy. Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Curtis Sarles
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyNew York University10003USA