Civil Society and (Neoliberal) Capitalism

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    Since the 1980’s, and increasingly throughout the 1990’s and continuing today, civil society has re-emerged as a central notion in Western (neo)liberal-democratic societies and as a central notion in the governance of these societies. On the one hand, civil society plays a central role in the liberal-democratic imaginary as a normatively privileged site or sphere of communication,
    voluntarism, social cohesion, democratisation processes, critique and resistance which must be protected from the encroaching logics of state and market. On the other hand, and at the same time, civil society is increasingly seen as a resource of public governance which can supply the social- and welfare services that the state can or will no longer provide. The language and notion of civil society is increasingly deployed as a means to open up public provision of welfare to austerity, cut-backs, privatization and competition.
    This paper analyses the function civil society plays in the current (neo)liberal, capitalist hegemonic order in both 1990’s Third Way Social Democracy and the post-financial conjuncture, particularly in Denmark and the UK. Civil society at the same time legitimises the progressiveness of liberal democracy by positing the necessity as well as factual existence of a delineated sphere of free debate and social critique, while at the same time this sphere with inherent (good) values can be appropriated to argue for the progressiveness and dynamism of civil society as opposed to the state, cold, ineffective, bureaucratic public sector, thereby legitimising cutbacks and introducing competition and private business solutions to the provision of welfare services. By arguing that civil society is a means to subsume societal struggle to a statist corporate-legal form that supports a given state-project, the paper seeks to develop a Marxist approach to civil society in (neoliberal) capitalism.
    Antal sider1
    StatusUdgivet - 2018
    BegivenhedMarx Nu! 2018 - Syddansk Universitet, Odense, Danmark
    Varighed: 7 sep. 20188 sep. 2018


    AndetMarx Nu! 2018
    LokationSyddansk Universitet