Civil Society in the Shadow of the Danish Welfare State

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    In this chapter, I argue that the notion and discourse of civil society has played a central part in the transformation of the Danish welfare state since the 1970s. The argument is that civil society always exists in the shadow of the state, meaning that only through legislation and funding can something like civil society exist. However, the state also produces civil society discursively by constructing a particular type of civil society that is concurrent with its given political project, or at least not in direct opposition to it. Through Hegel’s notion of civil society as something that only comes into being through the recognition of the state and Foucault’s notion of civil society as a transactional reality, I analyze the role of civil society strategies in Danish civil society since 2010. I show that here, civil society is produced as something with inherent, positive values, which must be used to rescue and improve welfare society. Civil society is thereby produced as a service provider of the state and emptied of its political content as a site of contestation and critique.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCivil Society : Between Concepts and Empirical Grounds
    EditorsLiv Egholm, Lars Bo Kaspersen
    Number of pages13
    Place of PublicationAbingdon
    Publication date2021
    ISBN (Print)9780367340957
    ISBN (Electronic)9780429323881
    Publication statusPublished - 2021
    SeriesRoutledge Advances In Sociology

    Bibliographical note

    Published November 30, 2020.

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