Civil Society

Discipline: Political Science

Theory of non-governmental aspects of modern society, developed by German philosopher GW Freidrich Hegel (1770-1831) and German political economist Karl Marx (1818-1883).

Hegel: in modern societies there is a civil or non-political sphere which, whilst it might be affected by government, is separate from it. Thus whilst politics takes place in political society, religion, economics, and voluntary association take place in civil society.

Marx: the distinction between state and civil society obscures the dependence of the one on the other, and the function of the state in maintaining a particular form of economic power.

Also see: satyagraha

David Miller, ed., The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought (Oxford, 1987)


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