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.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Release date- 29082019 - The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is inviting civil society organisations and individuals across the European Union to apply for its flagship Civil Society Prize.
The civil society first adopted a strategy of holding workshops which were largely attended by middle class professionals, university students and other youth.
However, a government spokesman responded to the statement by saying that the group's views were not shared by the vast majority of civil society organisations in the Kingdom.
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Giving a keynote address at a three-day civil society training workshop in Gaborone on May 6,
The commissioner said that different empty areas of Lahore had been identified for tree plantation and those areas would be provided to the civil society. for 5 years in collaboration with departments.
The most prominent voices in addressing women's issues are the feminist civil society organizations.
Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark will deliver opening remarks at the event where the web portal "eConsultations" will be presented to civil society organizations in BiH.
MULTAN -- Provincial Minister for Social Welfare Chaudhry Ajmal Cheema said the government would include civil society in consultation process for welfare of masses.
KARACHI -- Civil Society Organizations working in Pakistan have urged the government, particularly the Ministry of Interior, to revisit its decision of rejecting the registration applications of several International NonGovernmental Organizations (INGOs), which have been asked to leave without any plausible justification.
PESHAWAR -- A meeting of the Gender Electoral Working Group Thursday here stressed on promoting women turnout in the general elections and sought role of the civil society in meeting the desired target of women polling.

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