A melding of state and civil society took place in much of the western world
in the latter part of the nineteenth century. According to Ju¨rgen Habermas’s
classic formulation, the liberal-constitutional state which had developed
over the previous two centuries had not intervened in economic and family
life, that is, the spheres of commodity production and social reproduction.
But by the fin de sie`cle the state was an invasive presence in the spheres of
economics, education, and social and family welfare.1