Civil Society and the State

André Béteille

in Democracy and Its Institutions

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780198080961
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082049 | DOI:
Civil Society and the State

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In a constitutional democracy, state and civil society are, at least in principle, complementary rather than substitutes for each other or dedicated adversaries. The constitutional state based on the impersonal rule of law plays a crucial role in contemporary discussions of state and civil society. Civil society was at one point accompanied not only by the pursuit of individual interest but also by the development of a new type of associational life. Both Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx used the term ‘Bürgerlichegesellschaft’, which can mean either ‘civil society’ or ‘bourgeois society’. The historical process that has led to the emergence of civil society in various parts of the world may be understood in the framework of three specific phenomena that are homologous and interrelated: constitutional state, universal citizenship, and open and secular institutions.

Keywords: democracy; civil society; state; associational life; Bürgerlichegesellschaft; constitutional state; universal citizenship; secular institutions; Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel; Karl Marx

Chapter.  7018 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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