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Is it possible to talk of civil society beyond the nation-state? Although a clich, "...the term civil society has become an important buzzword amongst global deliberation, t
The first 200 words of this essay...
Written by Gino Seguna, RHUL
Is it possible to talk of civil society beyond the nation-state?
Although a cliché, "...the term civil society has become an important buzzword amongst global deliberation, touted by governments and political scientists as the key to political, economic and societal success."1
However the origins of the concept of civil society lie in key phases of modernity in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Then writers in classical philosophy and political economy began to differentiate analytically between the spheres of state and society. In feudal society, the same social relations between superiors and inferiors had embraced both production and family life, on the one hand, and political and military authority, on the other. With the dissolution of feudal relations, these two areas of social life became more clearly separate in modern conditions as 'society' and 'state'. The term civil society was first used to distinguish a sphere in which social relations were based on the free association of individuals, rather than a fixed hierarchy of legal institutions. For classical writers like the philosopher Georg Hegel and Karl Marx, civil society was an inclusive concept of 'society minus the state',
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