‘Taking Liberties': Contesting Visions of the Civil Society Project

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Civil society is an increasingly important concept for anthropology, encountered both in the social theories we employ, and in the discourses and practices of the people we study. This introductor y article was written in dialogue with the articles in this issue and attempts to highlight and begin to theorize key themes emerging from those articles. These include: the dialectical relationship between civil society and the state; the important role of middle classes in civil society; and the suffusion of civil society discourses with normative messages of modernization, reform, and salvation. It is argued that the long-standing custom- ar y conduct of ethnography amid the organizations, associations, and insti- tutions of daily life has equipped anthropology with conceptual tools that can contribute to a grounded and critical perspective on civil society
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-360
Number of pages22
JournalCritique of Anthropology
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001

Keywords

  • anthropological theory
  • civil society
  • ethnography
  • middle classes
  • moral discourse
  • social movements

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