Skip to content
Breaching the Civil Order

Breaching the Civil Order
Radicalism and the Civil Sphere


Jeffrey C. Alexander, Trevor Stack, Carlo Tognat, Stephen F. Ostertago, Farhad Khosrokhavar, María Luengo, Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk, Volker M. Heins, Christine Unrau, Anne Kane, Yasushi Tanaka-Gutiez, Maeve Cooke, Liv Egholm, Peter Kivisto, Giuseppe Sciortino
View all contributors
  • Date Published: December 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108427234

£ 83.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • It is not only a paradox but something of an intellectual scandal that, in an era so shaken by radical actions and ideologies, social science has had nothing theoretically new to say about radicalism since the middle of the last century. Breaching the Civil Order fills this void. It argues that, rather than seeing radicalism in substantive terms - as violent or militant, communist or fascist - radicalism should be seen more broadly as any organized effort to breach the civil order. The theory is brilliantly made flesh in a series of case studies by leading European and American social scientists, from the destruction of property in the London race riots to the public militancy of Black Lives Matter in the US, the performative violence of the Irish IRA and the Mexican Zapatistas to the democratic upheavals of the Arab Spring, and from Islamic terrorism in France to Germany's right-wing populist Pegida.

    • Develops and updates the theory of the civil sphere, proposed by Alexander in 2006
    • Shows what is shared by otherwise widely disparate radical movements/actions/organizations
    • Uses up-to-date empirical case studies from all over the world
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book brings together a fascinating range of contemporary case studies around a central provocative theme: what makes collective actors breach the civil order? And what happens when they do? I particularly appreciate the attention to the nature of the 'civil sphere' and its translation into real world 'flesh and blood' examples of radical action. The intelligent analytical framing of the case studies by the editors makes this a valuable and stimulating contribution to scholarship on contemporary politics and society.' Cristina Flesher Fominaya, Loughborough University

    'Civil sphere theory (CST) is one of the most important and exciting advances to reshape the study of politics and society in the last fifteen years. Decisively refuting the notion that radical politics have no place in the framework of CST, this groundbreaking volume by more than a dozen leading theorists places radicalism front and center. Pushing us to rethink what we thought we already understood, it offers fresh insights into political radicalism and its complex and varying relationship to civil solidarity. At the same time, its creative reexamination of radicalism serves to revise, develop, and expand CST in promising new directions. Breaching the Civil Order is required reading for everyone who wishes to grasp social solidarity by the root. Chad Alan Goldberg, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108427234
    • length: 678 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 155 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Jeffrey C. Alexander and Trevor Stack
    1. Wedging open established civil spheres: a comparative approach to their emancipatory potential Trevor Stack
    2. Radical protest in a university campus: performances of civil transition in Colombia Carlo Tognato
    3. Antiracism movements and the US civil sphere: the case of Black Lives Matter Stephen F. Ostertag
    4. The civil sphere and its variants in light of the Arab revolutions and jihadism in Europe Farhad Khosrokhavar
    5. Restaging a vital center within radicalized civil societies: the media, performativity, and the Charlie Hebdo attack María Luengo and Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk
    6. Anti-immigrant movements and the self-poisoning of the civil sphere: the case of Germany Volker M. Heins and Christine Unrau
    7. The civil sphere and the Irish Republican movement, 1970–1998 Anne Kane
    8. 'We all came together that day': the 2011 English riots as an enactment of solidarity Yasushi Tanaka-Gutiez
    9. Disobedience in civil regeneration: radical transformations in the civil sphere Maeve Cooke
    Commentary Liv Egholm
    Conclusion Peter Kivisto and Giuseppe Sciortino.

  • Editors

    Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University, Connecticut
    Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University, Connecticut. His writings over the last three decades have been foundational to the new discipline of cultural sociology, and his seminal work The Civil Sphere (2006) has come to be regarded as the major sociological theory of democracy. He founded and co-directs the Yale Center for Cultural Sociology. He has authored and edited more than fifty books, and his work has been translated in almost thirty languages.

    Trevor Stack, University of Aberdeen
    Trevor Stack is Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Aberdeen. He is Director of the inter-disciplinary Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law (CISRUL), which focuses on the study of political concepts in the world. Currently he leads a large (Economic and Social Research Council) ESRC project on Activism in Violent Regions, as well as an EU Marie Curie COFUND grant on Political Concepts in the World.

    Farhad Khosrokhavar, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
    Farhad Khosrokhavar is retired professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris and a director of Observatoire de la radicalisation in the Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris. He has published twenty-seven books, five of which are in English; his work has been translated into ten languages.


    Jeffrey C. Alexander, Trevor Stack, Carlo Tognat, Stephen F. Ostertago, Farhad Khosrokhavar, María Luengo, Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk, Volker M. Heins, Christine Unrau, Anne Kane, Yasushi Tanaka-Gutiez, Maeve Cooke, Liv Egholm, Peter Kivisto, Giuseppe Sciortino

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.