Karl Hegel's Theory Of Civil Society

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Hegel knew the dangers of civil society, and saw it as a site of conflict and oppression, as an arena of self-interest and division. In his opinion, there is a need of the state to regulate society. Both the state and society depend upon each other, yet the relationship is conflictual and needs to be balanced. He explained the concept more in political and legal connotations than economic. He used the concept of civil society to explain a sphere that is distinct from the state. He attempted to resolve the private vs. public dichotomy in his own way by incorporating the civil society in the state structure. Nonetheless, Hegel could not come up with a systematic theory of civil society. Karl Marx (1818-1882) was critical of the bourgeois theories…show more content…
He was an Italian thinker and political activist, who is considered to be a revisionist Marxist. He reviewed the Marxist-Hegelian understanding of civil society. In his opinion, civil society is a domain of voluntary associations counterpoint to the state. He defined it as a realm of the private citizen and individual consent, and placed civil society between the coercive relations of the state and the economic sphere of production. He relocated civil society at the level of the superstructure, along with the state, and he argued that civil society was the site for contest and conflict for establishing hegemony over society. Contrary to Hegel and Marx, Gramsci differentiated civil society from both the state and economy. This distinction between state and civil society guided further theorists to explain civil society functioning outside the state. According to him, civil society is a sphere of social life where individuals exercise their free will without any control of state. Quite contrary to Marx, he did not include economy in civil society, and instead included churches, schools, trade unions and media in it. He also identified civil society with the ensemble of voluntary associations, which would progressively take on state functions and gradually result in the withering away of the
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