A. Course Module:Individual, Society And State.

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Civil Society Cannot Be Constructed Without According An Individual The Rights And Privileges Being a Citizen.

Civil Society

The events that followed the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the institutional changes of one half of the European continent have called since long the attention of social scientists. Moving from the basic assumption that the trajectories determined by major social, political and economic change in central eastern Europe are not only the concern of those countries undertaking this process, but of the continent as a whole, social scientists have attempted to theorise the postsocialist transformation. This has taken place in various manners, some of which attentive of the local realities of such countries, some more or less inspired by west-centred paradigms of transition from state socialism to free-market capitalism. The analysis of determinate social and economic features that seem residual of the socialist past in spite of the innovations in the last thirteen years is still illuminating for understanding present, future and past social phenomena Whereas liberal cosmopolitanism keeps open the possibility of a Europe built upon rationality, social justice and democracy viewed against a history of genocide such sure footed ideas of moral progress are difficult to sustain. Indeed just as the cosmopolitans make their appeal for a new European order based upon the transnational application of Enlightenment principles so we have also witnessed the rise of the far Right and racist froms of reaction to asylum seekers and immigration. In this respect, Europe less resembles the rational polity, than a place of fear, anxiety and hatred. Here the charge is that the European enlightenment has a barbarous heritage and that ideals of cosmopolitan democracy seek to obscure this from view. Zygmunt Bauman (1995) has argued that the shadows of Auschwitz and the Gulag continue to cast their shadows over more liberal forms of collective identity. European modernity is as much about the establishment of the principles of liberal democracy as it is of racism and the politics of genocide. We might then choose to console ourselves with ideas of European civilisation and democracy, and yet we live under the continual threat of new waves of barbarism. (Kaldor, M. 2003 Pp. 134)

It is noticeable, that most of the advocates of a European civil society tend in William Outhwaite's (2003:1) phrase, to 'be looking at the brighter side of the European picture'. Indeed, Bauman argues that rather than seeing the death camps as a form of atavism we might view them as the expression of European modernity. In other words, European genocide was made possible by rationality, technology and science. The development of modern bureaucratic rationality and functional division of labour leads to the floating of responsibility. Moral impulses are neutralised by the modern requirement to forefill a role and reach targets while remaining loyal to an organisation. The holocaust is less symbolised by rage rather than the willingness to follow orders. Bauman writes: 'The modern mind treats the human habitat as a garden, ...
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