Although many contemporary scholars have deepened our understanding of civil society, a concept that made its entry into modern social thought in the 17th century, by offering insightful exegetical inquiries into the tradition of thinking about this concept, critiquing the limits of civil society discourse, or seeking to offer empirical analyses of existing civil societies, none have attempted anything as bold or original as Jeffrey C. Alexander's The Civil Sphere. While consciously building on this three centuries long tradition of thought on the subject, Alexander has broken new ground by articulating in considerable detail a theoretical framework that differs from what he sees as the two major perspectives that have heretofore shaped civil society discourse. In so doing, he has sought to construct from the bottom up a model of what he calls the civil sphere, which he treats in Durkheimian fashion as a new social fact. In this volume, six internationally recognized scholars comment on the civil sphere thesis. Robert Bellah, Bryan S. Turner, and Axel Honneth consider the work as a whole. Mario Diani, Chad Alan Goldberg, and Farhad Khosrokhavar offer analyses of specific aspects of the civil sphere. In their substantive introduction, Peter Kivisto and Giuseppe Sciortino locate the civil sphere thesis in terms of Alexander's larger theoretical arc as it has shifted from neofunctionalism to cultural sociology. Finally, Alexander's clarifies and further elaborates on the concept of the civil sphere.