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Civil Society 's basic theoretical research

Author: WuJunBin
Tutor: DongDeGang
School: The Central Party School
Course: The philosophy of Marxism
Keywords: civil society market economy limited government contract culture political state freedom order
CLC: D621.5
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 2842
Quote: 17
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Civil society is a theoretical term of proliferate meaning and a practical and challenging subject. This dissertation is given to present a systematic analysis on the basic theories of civil society, including such theories as the historical origin, the paradigm transformation, the basic connotation, the economic foundation, the political environment, and the cultural implication of civil society, to review the limit of civil society and political state respectively and their reciprocal mechanism, and to expound the double character of modern Chinese civil society and the structural elements of the construction of Chinese civil society. It is composed of the introduction, nine chapters and the epilogue.The introduction presents the history and current status of the related research home and abroad, the academic and practical significance, the primary methodology applied in this dissertation, and the basic logic structure.The first chapter analyses the conventional meanings of civil society. It hackles studies of civil society by Aristotle, Cicero, the great thinkers of the Middle Age, and the classical contract theorist (represented by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau). Which presents that, in the conventional sense, civil society means a political and civilized society contrary to a natural state, and is a direct token of political efficiency and political significance.The second chapter explains the modern significance of civil society. It reviews and analyses the civil society theories by Adam Ferguson, Thomas Paine, Hegel, Tocqueville and Marx. Which presents that, in the modern sense, civil society is a consistent study by dichotomy of political state and civil society, is independent of political state, is unmixed with political state, is free from the domain submerged to political state, and is chiefly directed to economic field.The third chapter discusses the contemporary significance of civil society. It researches studies of civil society by Gramsci, Habermas, Cohen, and Arato. Which presents that, in the contemporary sense, civil society is a consistent study by trichotomy of political society, economic society and civil society, which prescribes civil society mostly from cultural dimension, that is, the focus of civil society is no longer on economic field but mostly on cultural critique domain, and is on the independent social domain to construct public rationality and create public ethics.The fourth chapter clarifies the basic connotation of civil society. It differentiates and analyses concepts of civil society. It points out that, in the modern sense, civil society is an analytical category in connection with political state, and is an independent social domain based on market economy, taking contract culture as its axis, and intended to defense and protect citizens’basic rights. It discloses three levels of meaning of the concept of civil society: descriptive meaning, analytic meaning, and value meaning. It analyses the controversy over dichotomy and trichotomy while I hold that trichotomy should be applied in the context of the west developed countries and dichotomy the vast developing countries (including China). It summarizes the basic elements of civil society: private domain, corporation, public domain and social movement.The fifth chapter analyses the economic foundation of civil society: market economy. Market economy plays a fundamental role in creating and improving civil society while the construction of civil society is counteractive to the development of market economy. The development of market economy accelerates the polarization between state and society, and the construction of civil society requires the transformation from state standard to society standard. On the other hand, Basic Marxist theories about the relationship between state and society can be summarized into four aspects: state is rooted in society, state will disengage and rein society, society will get rid of the control of state, and state will return to society ultimately. Because power is the dominant operational rule of political state while right is the dominant operational rule of civil society, the construction of civil society can’t be succeeded until the transformation from power standard to right standard is achieved.The sixth chapter discusses the political environment of civil society: limited government. The construction of civil society requires the transformation from omnipotent government to limited government. Omnipotent government means that it’s highly centralized and society is pan-political, while limited government means that the function, power, scale and obligation of government are all limited. There are four important links in the transformation from omnipotent government to limited government: change from high Unitarianism to moderate division of power in government power, change from rule by people to rule by law in government administration, change from control model to service model in government function, and change from governing to administration in management mode. The construction of limited government is the logical result of the development of market economy, is an important part of the content of democracy, and is the necessary premise of the construction of efficient government. From the philosophical perspective, the theoretical foundation of limited government can be uncoiled from three dimensions: rights as a man, human nature, and the cognizant ability of human being.The seventh chapter discusses the cultural connotation of civil society: contract relationship. The conventional society is a status society based on natural economy, in which social structure appears as a“differential mode of association”, status is the primary approach to obtain privilege, and every individual is highly dependent. Our society was constructed into a super hierarchical structure through household register system, unit system and pan-administration hierarchy in the planned economy time, and the society appeared therefore to have a quasi-status characteristic. Because in civil society, independence, equality and rule by law are the general values, civil society is inter-related with contract spirit. In order to impel system renovation and innovation, we need to call for contract spirit, contract idea and contract practice in China today.The eighth chapter explores the limit and reciprocal action of political state and civil society. Modern state has all the functions of governing by ruling classes, social administration and social service. Basically, it is political. Its core is public power. Political state and civil society each has its own limit. The limit of political state is mostly embodied in the submersion of civil society, the deviation from public interests, power rent-seeking, and the limit of political validity. The limit of civil society is mostly embodied in the possible generating of extreme individualism and social polarization, which are not the ample condition of democracy. Political state and civil society should therefore have reciprocal action so as to overcome their negativity, transcend zero-sum game, and walk up to positive-sum game, to achieve moderate bidirectional restrict-balance and development-model reciprocity, and a new-phase that political state is powerful while civil society is full of energy.The ninth chapter analyses the construction of contemporary Chinese civil society. The dilemma in the course of Chinese modernization is how to balance the safeguarding of liberty and the maintenance of order. It is the reflection of the tension between liberty and order. In order to break through the dilemma, we need a social structure and public base to support the renovation of modern society, which relies on the construction of civil society and the reciprocal action between political state and civil society. Today, Chinese civil society is emerging. But it has its own characteristics, which is especially embodied in its double character: coexistence of spontaneous and man-made aspect, civilian and official aspect, independent and dependent aspect, macroscopically activation and microcosmically restriction, system surplus and system absence, and big institutional space and small practical demand. In this regard, the structural elements of the construction of Chinese civil society include: the diversification of economic life and the relatively independent society, independent individuals and social organizations, the scientific limitation and standardization of state power, and the perfection of law system and reconstruction of political culture.The epilogue summarizes the innovation of this dissertation and points out the problems that should be further studied.

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CLC: > Political, legal > China's political > Political system and national institutions > Political system > Civil rights and obligations
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