Danish civil society from a comparative perspective

This sub-project draws on republican theories of democracy to develop an original theoretical lens through which to rethink ‘Civil Society’. In the republican-democratic view, Civil Society is not a ‘third sector’ beyond the state and the market as in the currently dominant liberal understanding of the concept. Rather, Civil Society designates a political community (or in modern times a state), in which 
a) the control of the state apparatus lies in the hands of an empowered citizenry, and 
b) a “moral economy” has been constitutionalized, in the form of basic socio-economic rights to all citizens.
Civil Society, then, is not what lies beyond the ‘logics’ of ‘the state’ and ‘the market’, but rather refers to a society, which has been both politically and economically democratized.
Based on this republican concept of civil society, the historical-empirical part of the subproject compares main lines in the development of modernity in China and Western Europe (including Denmark) to ask:
1) Why did the liberal vision of Civil Society as a non-state sphere come to eclipse the classical republican vision of civil society as democratic statehood in Western European societies?  
2) Why has the vision of Civil Society – whether in its liberal or democratic-republican form – not (yet) become a dominant concept in modern Chinese society?
3) What are the conditions of possibility for a revival of the republican vision of Civil Society in both Western Europe and China?

This subproject was carried out by Andreas Møller Mulvad, former researcher at CBS. 


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