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The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation$
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Wolfgang Merkel, Raj Kollmorgen, and Hans-Jürgen Wagener

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829911.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 June 2021

Civil Society

Civil Society

(p.369) Chapter 33 Civil Society
The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation

John Keane

Wolfgang Merkel

Oxford University Press

The theoretical meanings, history, and different forms of civil society during regime transformation are the central focus of this chapter. It notes a paradox: during the past several decades, the growing consensus about the theoretical and practical importance of civil society has been overshadowed by growing disagreement about the exact meaning of the term, and the proper normative relationship between state institutions and civil society. The chapter thus aims to define civil society more precisely by examining its philosophical and temporal roots. It examines how in practice civil society can be related to state institutions in different ways. It probes the reasons why a civil society has great significance for the way we think about democracy, and why, in practice, different manifestations of civil society during the different stages of regime transformation are vital preconditions for building a strong democracy backed by a robust civil society.

Keywords:   civil society, state, regime transformation, democracy, varieties of civil society, schools of democracy, civic watchdogs, Tocqueville

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