How do real individuals live together in real societies in the real world? Jeffrey Alexander's masterful work, The Civil Sphere, addresses this central paradox of modern life. Feelings for others--the solidarity that is ignored or underplayed by theories of power or self-interest--are at the heart of this novel inquiry into the meeting place between normative theories of what we think we should do and empirical studies of who we actually are. A grand and sweeping statement, The Civil Sphere is a major contribution to our thinking about the real but ideal world in which we all reside.

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