ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Civil Society in the East, and the Prospects of Political Society

The western idea of civil society and Partha Chatterjee's concept of political society need to be critiqued and in doing so a case has to be made for rethinking civil society to understand the non-west. Historically, Indian society has enjoyed considerable autonomy of the state, which itself shows the possibility of an Indian imaginary of civil society. The postcolonial experience of a liberal constitution, rights and democracy has made possible the emergence of a modern, but non-bourgeois civil society within our castes and communities. Thus, if political theory goes beyond describing the present to imagining and justifying more radical futures, the idea of political society seems to come in the way.

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Civil Society in the East, and the Prospects of Political Society

Sanjeeb Mukherjee

The western idea of civil society and Partha Chatterjee’s concept of political society need to be critiqued and in doing so a case has to be made for rethinking civil society to understand the non-west. Historically, Indian society has enjoyed considerable autonomy of the state, which itself shows the possibility of an Indian imaginary of civil society. The postcolonial experience of a liberal constitution, rights and democracy has made possible the emergence of a modern, but non-bourgeois civil society within our castes and communities. Thus, if political theory goes beyond describing the present to imagining and justifying more radical futures, the idea of political society seems to come in the way.

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