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HEGEL CONCEPTION OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND CONTEMPORARY NOTION ABOUT IT

HEGEL CONCEPTION OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND CONTEMPORARY NOTION ABOUT IT
Ershova Irina, assistant director on international issues, candidate of philosophy, associate professor

Nothern (Arctic) Federal University named after M. V. Lomonosov, Russia

Conference participant

In  the  article  Ershova  I.V. gives consideration to Hegel conception of civil  society and contemporary  notion  about it. Civil society is a pluralistic, self- developing system. Hegel notion about main  points  of civil society. Modern notion of civil society. Civil society is based on citizen’s freedom in the economic, politic, social, cultural sphere.

Keywords: civil society, essence of civil society, modern notion of civil society.

 

It is a well-known fact that civil society is one of the major topics of discussion in the scientific world nowadays. Civil society is a pluralistic, difficult structured, self- developing system, which influences all the spheres of society. Individuals realize their interests being a part of the civil society.

The main ideaof the civil society is an establishment of individual person’ s freedom. The research is dedicated to the Hegel conception of the civil society and the modern understanding of it.

G.W.F. Hegel in his definition of civil society presented a model that became the basis for many theories explaining the essence of civil society. “Civil society is a differentia existing between a family and a state, though civil society development comes later than state development” [3, p.227].

In civil society every individual appears as a goal. However, Hegel emphasized that without relations with other individuals people cannot entirely achieve their goals. It is stated that this particular goal of relating to others gives itself a universal form and satisfies itself, satisfying with that aspiration of others for the welfare [3, p.227].

Civil society, according to Hegel, can be created only in a modern world. In this case European bourgeois society is meant. Correspondingly, Hegel suggests the presence of a developed state as a basis. In the framework of civil society, special emphasis is put on the interconnection between economic, political and social spheres, and their dialectical connection with the state. However, in a civil society concept, according to Hegel, the true freedom of citizens is not yet assumed.

Hegel presents the essence of civil society in the following three aspects:

1) indirectly the needs and satisfaction of particular needs by means of labor and by means of labor and satisfying all the others, the system of needs;

2) presence of freedom, property protection contained in a universal by means of justice;

3) concern for chance prevention being present in these systems and attention to special interest as general with the help of police and corporations [3, p.232].

By means of this triad Hegel emphasizes the role of individuals’ labor, well-functioning justice system, coordinated work of police and corporations.

So, Hegel made a very important remark concerning civil society, singling it out from the sphere of state, marking the dialectical connection between different spheres and presenting a family and a separate individual in particular as an independent structural unit.

The position based on differentiating civil society from the state supported by G.Hegel was reflected in A.M. Liebmann’s reasoning. According to A.M. Liebmann, civil society has the following criteria: spontaneous self-organization of a society aimed at influencing political decisions of the state but not being an integral part of the political system. The first criterion allows separating civil society from different centralized structures created by the state. The second criterion is aimed at sifting spontaneous communities existing outside the connections with the state and not trying to influence politics. The third criterion allows excluding organizations that became an indispensable part of the political mechanism of decision making and, correspondingly, that lost clear self-organization signs [4, p.119]. 

Valenty A.A. understands civil society as the system for providing support to social, sociocultural and spiritual spheres, their reproduction and transfer from one generation to another; the system of social institutions and relations that are separate and independent from the state, the goal of which is securing conditions for self-actualization of separate individuals, satisfaction of private individual and collective interests and needs. Interests and needs are expressed via such civil society institutions as a family, a church, an educational system, scientific, professional and other consolidations, associations and organizations [1, p.26]. The basis for this definition is made up by Hegel’s classical idea about distinguishing between a family, civil society and the state.

Modern civil society is based on economic, political, legal, sociocultural, ideological basis, stipulating a definite freedom of citizens.

So, economic freedom is defined by private property integrity. According to Y.G. Pavlenko, the main subjects of a modern state are power, business and civil society. Relations of these subjects stipulate the condition and the dynamics of state development including its material basis – the economy, as well as the whole complex of economic relations both on macro- and microlevels [4, p. 212]. The necessity of civil society is connected with the fact that a society can develop sustainably if its elements are structurally organized both vertically and horizontally, when the state and the civil basis are robust [4, p.213]. In political and legal spheres civil freedom is expressed in political pluralism, legislation based on the principles of democracy, humanism and justice, securing and guaranteeing rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen; in the possibility to rule the state by means of membership in public unions, political organizations, organizations with minor political aspect such as trade unions, societies (hobby groups). A.Y. Rubinshtein’s view is interesting in respect to interdependence of public and private interests on the basis of civil society. The author proceeds from the fact that political decisions are formed during the work of a parliament that is democratic in the same degree as the political system in general. In this sphere social choice is generated which only to some extent reflects interests of different social groups and is determined mainly by present civil society institutions [4, p.30]. L.Y. Grudtsina connects freedom on sociocultural level with, for example, elimination of class privileges and increase of importance of a person, a human being who transfers from a subject to a citizen with legal rights equal to everybody. In these conditions human behavior is determined by person’s own interests and a person bears responsibility for all deeds. Such a person sets his or her freedom highest of all, respecting also legal interests of other people [5, p.78].  I.V. Vinukova’s reflections are also interesting. She supports the legal component of civil society that shows that “on the one hand, in civil society freedom and justice have a social character controlling activities of people, communities and organizations. On the other hand, a person as a member of civil society gains freedom as a result of his or her ability to be subordinate to normative requirements of freedom as a conscious necessity”. I.V. Vinukova emphasizes that “different social norms (traditions, customs, moral, religious, legal norms, etc.) stipulating borders of freedom make up the external form for expressing freedom. However, in most significant spheres that are very important for people and society, the degree of freedom is set by the state itself. And it is done with the help of legal norms and laws” [2, с.158]. Freedom in ideological sphere lies in free choice of views, value systems, ideas, guidelines in which attitude of individuals to civil society is reflected. As S.G. Kirdina underlined, the role of ideology is especially vividly expressed in civil society studies. Ideology not only sets the direction for analysis, but also determines the character of the main ideological guidelines or values and forms the essence of the term civil society and makes it a characteristic ideologime of the western society, the carrier of the basic values characteristic of it [4, p.45].

To conclude with we would like to note, that it is important to address oneself to theoretical experience of previous generations of classical scientists who created a theoretical basis and revealed the essence of the studied phenomenon. Having studied the classical model of civil society by G. Hegel, its modern understanding becomes evident. Civil society is a nonpolitical sphere of a society, differentiated from the state. In the framework of civil society, individuals freely realize their private interests by means of uniting in social communities, hobby groups. They represent collaboration of free society members, that’s why we can claim that civil society is also a self-regulating system consisting of numerous elements harmonized with one another. The priority in civil society is self-actualization of a person with a number of definite rights, freedoms and obligations.

 

References:

  1.   Valenty A.A. Relationship between the concepts of "civil society" and "state of law" / / Modern law № 10,2009. pp.24 – 27.
  2. Vinukova I.V. The legal nature of relations between the state and civil society / / Legal policy and legal life, № 1, 2006. pp.157 -160.
  3. Hegel, G.W.F. Philosophy of Right. Moscow: Mysl, 1990.  524 p.
  4. Civil society: international experience and the Russian practice / ed. A.E.Lebedev, A.Y. Rubinstein. St. Petersburg.: Alateya 2011.  348 p.
  5. Grudtsina L.Y .Historical features of civil society in Russia / / Legislation. Economics, № 6, 2009. pp.78-86.
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