Political Economy of Civil Society

  • Adrian PabstEmail author


This chapter explores the role of civil society in relation to the economy and the polity by focusing on three distinct yet related dimensions: (1) the conceptual history of civil society in relation to political economy; (2) the theory underpinning a political economy of civil society; (3) the implications of a political economy of civil society for policy-making. The main argument is that there is a fundamental difference between ancient and medieval conceptions, which emphasise natural sociability, and modern accounts that accentuate a violent ‘state of nature’. As a result, civil society either reflects the fundamental embeddedness of economic and political processes in social relations or is an artificial construct. The chapter develops a typology of four modern models, provides a theory of the political economy of civil society and outlines a series of policy ideas.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

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