Different Perspectives on Civil Society

For Gramnsci, civil society is formed by a series of “apparatuses,” such as the Churches, unions, parties, cooperatives, civic associations, and so on, which, on the one hand, prolong the dynamics of the state, but on the other hand, are deeply rooted among people. It is precisely this dual character of civil society that making it possible to seize the state without launching a direct, violent assault.

Where Gramsci and de Tocqueville see democracy and civility, Foucault and Sennett, and before them Horkheimer and Marcus, see internalized domination and legitimation of an over-imposed, undifferentiated, normalizing identity.

The Power of Identity