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Greener Journal of  Social Sciences Vol. 3 (1), pp. 014-032, January 2013

  ISSN: 2276-7800 © 2011 GJSS

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 111512265


Civil Society: The Imperative for Reconceptualisation


Odeyemi Jacob Oluwole


Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, Nigeria


Email: woleodeyemi2005 @


The civil society concept is popularly multidisciplinary in utility and reference, yet, modernity has witnessed its worst misapplications and abuse, so much that it is controversially contended to be both something and nothing. This historical exploration of its origin and founding values had discovered the point of departure and distortions to its pristine virtue and its eventual abuse. It is argued that the pristine civil society maintained a Pareto elite/mass balance until the tragic rise of feudalism and the Church in socio-political calculations of the middle ages. The ensuing scenarios ensured the tragic crippling of the civil society; the triumph of the elite and the inconsequentiality of the masses. The elite have since consolidated on the post Westphalian and Industrial Revolution gains to redefine and manipulate the concept, firstly, towards the continual political ignominy of the masses, and, secondly, for perpetual elite dominance of the state, and the academia have been duped into complicity with the elite. The case is thus made on the imperative of a proper conceptualisation that would fine-tune the modern state in line with the progressive minds of the classical statesmen that fashioned the original civil society.

Key words: civil society, re-conceptualisation, ruling elite, civil elite, civil mass, pristine, feudalism, revolution.

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