Understanding ‘Society’, ‘Civil Society’ and ‘State’
Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on August 24, 2011
Since start of this year, 2011, we are seeing a conflict between civil society and state in Bharat. Though all of us know little piece about each but mostly we lack the clear knowledge. Here is my attempt to explain the terms in tweet format. Yesterday I was tweeting about Society, Civil Society and State through my twitter handle @SandeepShelke which I’m reproducing here as it is (not in any particular order).
What is Society?
Society is a community with hierarchically organized & maintained social practices which establishes the power equations and relationships among the members of the society. tweet.
What is Civil Society?
- Its a public sphere of society.
- Its a place where expressions are meditated through debates and discussions. tweet
- It concerns itself to matters relating to society.
- It controls & makes state responsible thru democratic practices. tweet
- It monitors democratic norms & procedures.
- It makes sure that political accountability is present in social order apart from political system (state). tweet
- Its a process which seeks to breach & counteract the totalization attempted by the state.
- Its a place where state is forbidden to shape any opinion. tweet
In short Civil Society is an open platform for members of society to present, discuss, debate various ideas, experiences. State must not interfere and try not shape the decision. It also keeps check of ‘limits on state power’. tweet
What is State?
- It has power to legitimize & recognize social relations.
- It is distinct & irreducible(why). tweet
- It is a set of specifically political practices which define & enforce binding decisions.
- It intervenes every aspect of life of members of society. tweet
- Only it can coerce, no other organization can coerce. But it derives power from society and social interest must be on forefront.
- It gives fixity to social relations & social stability to society. tweet
- It must remain within framework of a given society, but has to re-enact rules as per social changes. tweet
State has power entrusted by society to select, categorize, crystallize & arrange power in formal codes & institutions for taking decisions, enforcing decisions & coercing decisions if anyone defies. tweet
Hope this helps a little bit, maybe a first step for further understanding and exploration on these topics.