Civil Society Essay

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Civil society is both a way of describing aspects of modern society and an aspiration, an ideal of what a good society should be like. It has recently been revived to emphasize the capacity of societies to organize themselves through the active cooperation of their members. Unfortunately up to today we still don't have a universally recognised definition and the whole concept is still the core of a intense academic debate. That is why it seemed appropriate, for the purpouse of this paper, to analyse the historical evolution of the concept throughout the centuries. The etymological origin of the term civil society can be found in the Greek concept of political community employed by Aristoteles (384-322 BC), who identified it with the existence …show more content…

It includes groups, institutions and individuals who organize their activities in such a way as to create a balance among them. In other words, it refers to a civilized political community. During the Renaissance, florentine humanist Leonardo Bruni translated Aristoteles' concept as “societas civilis” in Latin. The term was later translated in English as civil society. In the last decade of the sixteenth century, the term civil society was referred to people living in a community. In the sixteenth and seventeenth-century Europe many unitary states with extensive control over definite territories emerged and consequently replaced the fragmented system of feudal rule. Here civil society was understood as the sphere of absolute sovereignty or the state. At that time, political or civil society was not understood in terms of a politically constituted …show more content…

He saw civil society as an alternative to the state of nature, which is a synonym of anarchy. According to him, civil society is a legitimate political order, and the historical remedy for the inconveniences of the state of nature, in particular the individual physical vulnerability to external violence. He viewed the absolutist monarchies as a continuation of the state of nature. Civil society was less in relation to the market but was seen more in political terms. However, Locke made no distinction between civil society and political society. In other words, he equated civil society with the

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