civil society

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civil society

(as used by HEGEL and MARX) market and economic relations (in contrast with the activity of the STATE); a realm intermediate between the family and the state. More generally, the realm of wider social relations and public participation, as against the narrower operations of the state or of the economy.

The earliest usages of the term in political and social philosophy were to contrast both ‘civil society’ and ‘civil government’ with ‘natural society’ or the ‘state of nature’. In the Scottish Enlightenment, Adam FERGUSON used the term in contrasting Western CIVILIZATION, and its associated forms of government and politics, with non-Western forms of society and their more ‘despotic forms of government (see also ORIENTAL DESPOTISM). The economic and political freedoms associated with civil society are regarded by Marxists as sometimes apparent rather than real (e.g. protecting the interests of private property and capital and enshrining significant freedoms, but instilling selfish individualism and masking underlying economic exploitation, ALIENATION, the loss of earlier community, etc). However, within Marxism, as well as in sociology generally the historical significance of the differentiation of civil society from ‘nature’, the family, and the 'S tate’ is acknowledged on all sides. Distinctions in any of the above senses between civil society and the state operate, even if, as emphasized by GRAMSCI, the state plays a role in the establishment of civil society, and the establishment of civil society also plays a part in protecting or in changing particular state forms (compare PUBLIC SPHERE). See also CIVIL RIGHTS, PUBLIC SPHERE.

References in periodicals archive ?
One of the most important approaches to development planning corresponds to the neoinstitutional perspective that enhances the value of civic commitment as a determining factor for disparities elimination (Moncayo, 2004).
Thus our attention to the changing spatial and temporal forms of street-level health work leads us from the city to the polis, turning ethnographies of urban public health into ethnographies that explore the ambiguous arena of civic commitment.
Service learning has an intentional focus on civic outcomes, encourages civic commitment, and increases students' knowledge of the community.
You can be inspired by the civic commitment of the thousands of volunteers who get involved, giving their time generously to work on phone banks, canvas door to door to convince undecided voters to support their candidate or escort those in need of help to the voting booth.
Their topics include Italian Catholicism and the differentiation of rituals, renewing Confucianism as a living tradition in 21st-century China, whether Christian prayer for human rights and peace is a spiritual or civic commitment, a social constructionist approach to the beginning of life, asceticism and the place of the body in modern monastic prayer, and Sufi spirituality and the code of Islam in everyday practice.
Mr Rowland said: "I have no doubt the city will continue to build on firm foundations, with an active council and institutions that demonstrate a civic commitment co-operating in partnership as part of Team Newcastle.
This process of reimagining would be led by both government and the grassroots, and generate a sense of public and civic commitment among young Canadians who, at present, remain disengaged from the political system.
In a place where religion permeates the public sphere, Cantor has succeeded by turning his Jewish identity from an ethnic distinction into a signal of the values and civic commitment he shares with his gentile constituents.
praise their civic commitment," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said
This linking of academic study with community service is seen as ideally suited to achieving both the personal and academic goals of students and the broader goals of civic commitment and social justice in communities (Chisholm, 2002).
Going a step further, the federal government can even support and encourage this type of civic commitment by rewarding such model behavior with legislation that provides a path to legalization.
Gogol's "lifelong cultural belonging to Ukraine contrasted with his civic commitment to Russian nationalism" (p.