Online Response #4: Cohen and Arato
In Civil Society and Political Theory, Jean Cohen and Andrew Arato set out to
create a framework (at least) for a more complete theory on civil society that is adapted
to today. Citing the reason behind such a goal to be that the current models is not
sufficiently complex and remains clouded. Cohen and Arato set out through the preface
offering a basic guide to why the new framework for the theory is necessary.
Additionally providing the principles and the explanations that will guide the framework
for the theory.
One such explain for how they will develop their new framework (and those who
build on it) for civil society is that it will have to be separated from the economy and
state (and more. They go into more detail about the separation later as I will point out
below). If left unseperated it would not be a “critical”, but if properly separated than the
theory that they will propose will allow it to be the center of critical political and social
theory. Under more specific circumstances the theory would lose it critical potential if
after a successful transition from dictatorship to democracy the undifferentiated version
would include “society vs the state”.
They build on this by providing three guidelines. Firstly, Not is it only important to
separate civil society from economy but it is im