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Interrogating India's ModernityDemocracy, Identity, and Citizenship$
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Surinder Jodhka

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198092070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092070.001.0001

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What is Civil and Uncivil in Civil Society?

What is Civil and Uncivil in Civil Society?

Reflections on Contemporary India

(p.117) 5 What is Civil and Uncivil in Civil Society?
Interrogating India's Modernity

Gurpreet Mahajan

Oxford University Press

This essay seeks to explore the notion of ‘civil society’. The context to the essay is provided by its frequent invocation in the recent movement against corruption. The popular media has tended to propagate the view that civil society is somehow a more authentic representative of the common people than those elected to the formal institutions of democracy, like Parliament. However, the Campaign against Corruption—of which Anna Hazare was a prominent figure—was more like a movement than an institution of civil society. The essay argues for reconsidering the line that separates civil society from movements because the new social movements that are emerging all over the democratic world are very different from the movements of the past that were seeking fundamental changes in the social and political structure.

Keywords:   civil society, uncivil society, anti-corruption movement, democracy, Campaign against Corruption, Anna Hazare

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