Civil Society and its critics today

The idea of civil society continues to inform major paradigms of social and political theory, whether contemporary political liberalism, the discourse ethics developed by Habermas, his successors, and their American epigones (see Arato and Cohen 1992), Gramscian or neo-Gramscian theories of state power as force and violence legitimised by the consensual foundations of civil society, or contemporary democratic theories which make a healthy civil society a precondition for democracy or democratization. This strand of research explores three lines of criticism: Catholic, feminist, and anti-imperialist (with a focus on civil society in India).