States and Markets Webminar! Today 7pm CET (2pm Latin America)

Hello everybody,

Just a quick reminder of our 2nd webminar today at 7pm CET (2pm Latin America). We will discuss the concepts of State and Civil Society using Avinieri's text as a starting point. Pablo sent some interesting questions to guide our meeting. I copy them below so we all have them in mind.

See you in some hours.

"In our first meeting we started a discussion on the conceptual need of differentiating between two spheres in capitalist society: nowadays usually called "the economy" and "the State". Tracing that division historically we found that what we now refer to as "the economy" was initially called "civil society". According to Nancy Fraser we can track two meanings of civil society: its historical meaning refers to a privately-ordered capitalist economy, while in more recent times "civil society" means the nexus of nongovernmental or "secondary" associations that are neither economic nor administrative' (Fraser, 1990, p.74). Our interest concerns mainly the first connotation which was then renamed as "the economy".

With this in mind we propose discussing “the Hegelian Origins of Marxs Political Thought”, written by Slomo Avineri (1967). Avineris paper reconstructs the argument the young Marx follows in his “Critique of Hegelss Philosophy of Right”. Marx was in his earliest writings fascinated by Hegel due to his intention to “fulfil philosophy”, meaning to close the gap between social life and theory. With the same objective Marx formulated his critique of Hegel. His main argument against the dialectics of “Civil Society and Modern State” was that it didn’t express the reality of political and social life. Marx would argue that no empirical state approximates ever to Hegels scheme.

In this context, what is the relevance of Hegelian constructions of “civil society” and “modern state” today? In which context or under what conditions could it be useful for developing concepts that enrich our understanding of present problems?"