Coordinated by Andreea ZAMFIRA

Civil Society in Romania and Central and Eastern Europe


Gheorghe Lencan STOICA

University of Bucharest



Abstract: The concept of civil society has a long and rich tradition in the political thought and activity of the Western world, the identification of its first forms of manifestation often intersecting both human rights issues and the first aspects of democracy in the modern world. Moreover, the essence of the last decades’ changes in Central and Eastern Europe followed naturally the democratic evolution, as well as the state of justice. Therefore, the concept of civil society has a special significance, and in order to understand its deep meaning a more through investigation, a comparative analysis and its compulsory historical survey should be taken into account.


Keywords: Civil society, Western world, Central and East European societies, democracy.





The notion of civil society has its origins in the writings of some major philosophers as John Locke, Montesquieu, Spinoza, Kant, Alexis de Tocqueville, K. Marx, A. Gramsci, etc.

In the era of the bourgeoisie’s ascension and of the promotion of individualism, the agenda was dominated by the fundamental rights of man and of the citizen, by the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression and association. We deal herein with a “complex systematization of the fundamental principles”, entailing a whole series of subsequent aspects; such problems characterised the classical debate which transformed itself ultimately into what we call civil society. Thus, the eternal problem of how to interweave individual interests with the social arena and, vice versa, the social welfare with private or individual life became once more the object of public reflection of the entire political spectrum. In other words, what is at stake is the best way to build society itself, both in terms of private individuals and of a public common sphere.

Indeed, the concept of civil society (civilis) is mentioned for the first time by the English philosopher Hobbes, who points out especially in De civis, but also in The Leviathan that the “union is called civitas or civil society, therefore society is no longer conceived merely as natural, but as the consequence of a pact (contract), as representative person. In Hobbes’ vision, the state of nature is that type of state in which men fight one another fiercely (homo hominis lupus est).[1]

But only with John Locke does civil society acquire a larger scope, though synonymous with political society, therefore synonymous with the state. Locke used both terms without discrimination. But in another very famous work, Locke discovered and investigated other aspects without which the concept of civil society could not have been conceived.[2] We have in mind especially The Second Treatise of Civil Government and Letter concerning Toleration. In this respect, the idea of tolerance understood as a moral right seems to be particularly significant. At the same time, Locke would theorise the primacy of the individual in the state, primacy founded on contractual bases in order to “secure the person and the goods” of the individual. He also speaks about the guarantees that should be given to minorities and about their right to equal dignity, Locke stating that these should be immediately annulled if they violate the laws or if they bring about a violent overthrow of the state. Spinoza goes further, and formulates in an original way his vision on society:


“Society is very useful and even absolutely necessary, not only because it defends us against our enemies, but also because it operates the union of multiple activities. In fact, if people had not helped one another, they would have lacked both time and the capacity to do as much as they can do in order to survive and preserve themselves”.[3]  


Spinoza too speaks clearly about fundamental rights and liberties especially in his famous work A Theological-political Treatise. For instance, by civil right he means each person’s liberty to maintain himself in his civil state; thus, Spinoza rises firmly against any encroachment or limitation of the rights the individuals have in a state. Particularly in his Political Treatise Spinoza also analyses the role of the crowd’s action, even with its internal contradictions and limits, i.e. democracy itself. This is the essential structure of any political association, leaving aside the historically speaking form of government.

Asserting the importance of civil society, Montesquieu is another building block in Western political thought. The author claims that political liberty is to be found only in moderate governments and rejects many commonplaces that identify liberty either with the faculty of choosing a leader or of deposing a tyrant, or of doing whatever one desires, or with the possibility of living under a certain political regime. In Montesquieu’s opinion, liberty is “the right to do whatever the law allows you to do”. Even more explicitly, Montesquieu declares that “we are free to live under the authority of civil laws”.[4] He considers that liberty consists in the existence of laws and in the certainty of their enforcement and efficiency; liberty is not the power of the people, but the power of the laws. Experience shows us constantly that any man invested with an authority is tempted to commit abuses and to take advantage of his power. To prevent such abuses which are in the very nature of things, power ought to be limited also by power. In Montesquieu’s vision, that is how the principle of the separation of powers in a state is reached. In a civil society it is not the state that is preeminent, but the citizen or the real human being. Hence, as other philosophers have argued, all this entails the primordiality of the law as source of justice. Consequently, the fundamental values that underlie any government are law, equality, security and freedom.

J. J. Rousseau identifies the concept of civil society with the state, which he names civil state, the other powers being particular manifestations of the one and unique “supreme power”: people’s sovereignty. Legislative power belongs to the people and can belong only to the people.

It is quite obvious that the contraposition between the state of nature and civil society was a constant element till Hegel.

In Kant’s work, for instance, the unitary situation of a people that keeps mutual relationships is called civil (status civilis) and on the whole, related to its members, it is called state (civitas). In this respect, it is interesting to notice that Kant identifies the state of law with the state of reason, in which the “universal” will that is given a priori (to a people or in connection with other peoples) is “the only one that determines what is just among men”.[5] Trying to picture society, Kant sees it as a wood, where each tree “tries to take the air and the sun of the other trees”, until they are all “mutually compelled to rise higher and higher and that is the reason why they grow beautifully and straightly, whereas if we leave them in liberty and separated from each other, they grow with their branches deformed, twisted and crooked”.[6]                  

It is important to specify in this context that in the eighteenth century Europe witnessed the constitution process of modern civil society in parallel with the dissolution of old political relations that placed the individuals in privileged or discriminated groups. It was this very dissolution that generated the separation of the two distinct spheres, i.e. a depoliticised and atomised society – civil society – and the state, as a manifestation of the political will (the political state) of the main groups of civil society.[7]

From a conceptual perspective this phenomenon was best captured by Hegel. In his Philosophy of Right (published in 1821), by using the term of civil society Hegel dissociates from his predecessors who saw it as a political society or the state. When he uses the term of civil society, Hegel refers both to the sphere of economic relations and to the whole body of juridical regulations set up by the liberal (bourgeois) state.[8]

Hegel’s civil society includes the totality of concrete, real social states. Starting from such concrete relations, Hegel understands the participation of politics in state affairs as an expression of the plurality of relationships in which civil society is articulated.

So we may see that in Hegel’s vision civil society includes not only the sphere of economic relations and class formation, but also the administration, justice and police or corporative order. In essence, according to Hegel, civil society “is the difference that interposes between family and state, although its completion is subsequent to that of the state, for being the difference it assumes beforehand the state, and, in order to subsist, civil society must regard the state as an independent entity”.[9]

Continuing Locke’s, Spinoza’s, Rousseau’s and above all Hegel’s ideas, Marx too deals with the problems connected with civil society. From the beginning, says he, civil society designates “the totality of the individuals’ material relationships within a given stage of development of the productive forces. In fact, according to Marx, society is defined as “the real home, the theatre of any history, and we can see how absurd is the heretofore view on history”, which limits it to the deeds of statesmen and states, and ignores real relationships. In Marx’s opinion, civil society includes the entire economic and commercial life of a certain period of time and is therefore broader than the state and the nation; on the other hand, it must assert itself externally as nationality, and internally as state.

In his work On the Jewish Question, Marx describes brilliantly the role of the state, as well as of civil society, in their interconnection:


“Only when the real, individual man will have summarised in himself the abstract citizen, as an individual man in his empirical life, in his individual work, in his individual relationships, only then will he become a member of the human species, and not until man will have recognised and organised ‘his own capacities’, as social capacities, consequently not separating social force from himself, and the social force is no longer divided by the political power, not until then will human emancipation be achieved”.[10]


The classical view on civil society reaches now a stage from which it will continue to develop till the twentieth century taking the form of liberal as well as socialist political theories.





In the last century, continuing and developing these ideas, Antonio Gramsci offered an interesting point of view on civil society. Formulating his conception on civil society in Quaderni del carcere (Prison Notebook), he resumed and studied thoroughly the multiple aspects of this concept. That is why we witness today a real “re-discovery” of this idea with a large audience in many countries of Eastern Europe, South America and North Africa. So is it an accident that Gramsci’s works are so widespread in the whole world? By civil society he means “a complex network of cultural, moral and ideological conditionings” (higher education institutions, cultural and broadcasting establishments), but he has also in view certain “private” forms such as trade unions, the Church, parties, the Parliament, etc., all these being evident obstacles in the way of statism and dictatorship tendencies.

In his book published during the last decade under the title of The Idea of Civil Society, treating the question of civil society, Adam Seligman declares the following: “The present re-discovery of civil society calls to mind the works of various thinkers, as Ferguson, Marx, Hegel, Adam Smith, Tocqueville or Antonio Gramsci. Thereafter, the confusion (A/N) was strangely increased by the asymptotic development of the term in the twentieth century”.[11] Ignored for many decades by the main stream of Western European and North American writings on social philosophy and political theory, the idea of civil society continued (and is still continuing) to make the object of wide-spreading debates between intellectuals of the left and their critics from both ex-socialist countries and post-industrialised Western societies.[12]

The importance of Gramsci’s reflections results from the moment or rather from the context in which he treated this problem. He refers to Croce’s ample contribution to the development of Italian philosophy, in the great tradition of neo-Hegelian philosophy. The context we have in mind is the third decade of the last century, when Stalinism was consolidating itself in Russia and the Western world was consumed by the famous “crisis”. In this epoch Gramsci re-discusses the question of civil society and operates a distinction between East and West. “In Russia the state was everywhere” and there was no room for civil society. Intelligentsia’s culture and civil society’s culture despise each other in Russia, while in the Western world even the smallest state possesses a high cultural level and a civil society. That is why when dealing with civil society Gramsci reveals the positive aspects resulting from the analysis of this concept, as well as civil society’s real importance in the functioning conditions of certain developed and democratic countries. In the mid-20th century, Gramsci was almost the only thinker that re-evaluated this concept and gave it an adequate theoretical form. Hence his frequent negative references to the tendencies to amplify and exaggerate the force moment and the dictatorship “in Stalin’s Russia” and his openly critical opinions regarding the on-going process in the Soviet regime. “My starting point, says Gramsci, is that we shall have to distinguish between the meaning of civil society as it was understood by Hegel, meaning that is often used in these notes (i.e. political and cultural hegemony of a social group over the entire society, as ethical contents of the state) and the meaning given by Catholics, for whom civil society identifies itself with political society or with the state, versus familial society and the Church”.[13]

We may easily conclude that in Gramsci’s work the term of civil society is not explicitly defined; therefore it confronts itself with unilateralist but very rich in “cultural values” directions, like Croce’s (of which Gramsci intensely profited), or with directions of Hegelian or Marxist filiation, to which they are subsumed, maintaining however certain methodological differences. Thus, in Gramsci’s conception, civil society constantly designates a certain level of the superstructure which includes the private political institutions of the social groups, including those of the ruling classes that are not directly part of the state’s power network. The deciphering of Gramsci’s idea of civil society “must be sought in the effort of grasping a typical component of the political power, namely the instruments meant to primarily secure the social consensus necessary to rule”.[14] In fact, it is precisely the meaning of Gramsci’s specification, according to which “civil society” is the space of economic activity, breaking up with the liberal tradition and being a bridge and a contact with Marxist tradition. To found a new type of state means to transform the economic structure (the economic relationships), to reorganise and develop the means of production, to create a new specific market, to adjust homo economicus’ behaviour and needs to the new structure and to the necessity of developing the productive forces. By transforming civil society into a centre of private, economic or political initiative, Gramsci depicts such a combination in the chapter “Americanism and Fordism” of his Quaderni, where he literally declares:


“Americanization supposes a concrete frame, a given social structure or a will determined to create, as well as a certain type of state. That state is the liberal state, but not in the sense of custom free trading, or of real political liberty, but in the most fundamental sense of free initiative and economic individualism, reaching the regime of industrial concentration and of monopoly by its own means, as “civil society”, throughout its own historical evolution”.[15]  


Finally, Gramsci’s contribution in grasping the notion of civil society was brilliantly highlighted by Norberto Bobbio’s “Gramsci and the Concept of Civil Society”, a study presented at the Gramscian congress of 1967. After this philosopher’s intervention, another remarkable allocution pointed out the active role of Gramscian subjectivity. The state is the integral state, i.e. political and civil society.

Although there are about 250 years since the term of civil society has appeared, there still are different interpretations of its meaning. We concentrated our attention mainly upon Gramsci’s point of view, but its roots can be found at the beginnings of modern world – a fact proved also by Ferguson’s writings. It knew a new life in the 1970s when the Polish workers’ movement reached a peak undermining the state itself. But in the 1990s, this concept played a major part in the political debates of Eastern and Western Europe, as well as in U.S.A.’s political life. However, the idea of civil society had also different meanings. At the level of the masses the term was perceived as a slogan, with different political significances. Yet many thinkers emphasised besides the multiple aspects different other sources and historical traditions.[16]

The meaning and the significance of the term sometimes vary because of the specific particularities detectable in the ample movements of organisations such as Solidarity (Polish trade union), Charta 77 (Czechoslovakia) and the National Forum of Hungary. Still, the resemblances ensue from the universal character of these aspects of civil society: human rights, the need of democracy, of liberty, etc.

The people’s enthusiastic response to the first free elections after 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe was due, as Adam Przeworski will say, to fierce and even long-lasting struggles.[17] In that context (of the 1990s), the idea of civil society had a particular echo in Central and Eastern European countries. It took the form of conferences and articles and was sometimes used even by the ruling parties as a sort of political slogan.[18]  

In his work The Idea of Civil Society, published in 1992, in U.S.A., Adam Seligman points out this fact with much rigor. He describes in detail the manifestations of civil society in different regions of the world and concludes that this concept was perceived in a certain way by the citizens of Bucharest, Vilnius, Budapest or Prague, and in a quite different way by the citizens of Chicago, Toronto, Oxford or Princeton.                                                                  

That is why, besides the various theoretical significances and besides the sometimes fascinating political priorities, related to the idea of civil society, ultimately it is a synthesis of the public and the private welfare or of ideal and social aspirations. Therefore, for many theoreticians the idea of civil society embodies an ethic ideal of public and social order which, if it does not overcome the conflictive needs of individual interests and of social weal, at least it attempts to harmonise them.[19] In order to shed more light upon the meaning of this concept we shall furthermore refer to a country from Northern Europe, namely Sweden, where civil society plays a very active part in the life of society as a whole, as well as in each individual’s specific political and social life. More precisely, we have in view the citizens’ trust in each other. Swedish society allows its citizens to benefit of a wholesale institutionalization (for instance in the case of public instruction) based on a deeply rooted common culture regarding solidarity and trust. It should also be mentioned that in Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway and Finland) public education is free of charges and constitutes the ideal frame of society’s education. Examining the same aspects this time in Eastern European countries, we notice a quite different situation. In this part of the world, especially in Poland, the Church played an extremely important role. In order to understand the quite active political role of the Polish Church, a real political actor, we should mention that it transformed itself in an essential pillar of civil society. Ethnical and religious divisions represent another particularity of Eastern civil societies, justifying the significance of the syntagm of Eastern and Western civil society. Likewise, an essential and distinctive feature of Eastern civil societies, from Czechoslovakia to the Soviet Union, was the existence of samizdat writings asserting a different vision on the individual as an autonomous social actor and as an ethical and moral entity, different from the political tradition of the respective countries. T. H Marshall, as well as Arend Lijphart or Robert Dahl also include in their views on democracy such aspects of the civil society. Adam Seligman identifies the following elements: 1) the liberty to create and to adhere to organisations; 2) freedom of speech; 3) franchise; 4) eligibility in public functions; 5) the right of political leaders to obtain support and votes; 6) alternative sources of information (liberty of expression); 7) free elections without any administrative interference; 8) the institutions resulting from elections depend on votes and on other preferences, etc.[20] Mention should be made of the fact that in the Western world the sense of the idea of civil society and democracy cannot be understood without the close connection of the two concepts. In the Eastern world, however, where real democracy does not exist and where the afore-mentioned elements are thereby absent, we do not meet that civic spirit which creates a propitious climate for the active functioning of civil society. The constitution and the laws alone cannot safeguard liberty, which is kept alive only through the citizen’s conflictive participation in public affairs. There is no liberty without conflict; by nature, man is a partisan being and confliction is an un-removable dimension of politics. Especially in Central and Eastern European countries, the question of civil society takes sometimes unilaterally into consideration certain themes as justice or solidarity. Voluntary associations or interest-based groups and corporative groups constitute the essence, as well as the existence form of civil societies, argued Hegel in the nineteenth century, along with other philosophers, such as Charles Tayler or Michael Walzer, who speaks for instance about “the spheres of justice”. The difference between these groups and the type of identity and of group alliances characterizing the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe consists in the nature and the determination of the relationships existing among several groups and among the members of the same group.

In Western countries, civil society’s voluntary associations are interest-based groups organised in such a way as to defend their mutual interests at institutional levels (strategic action, as Habermas calls it). Their interaction with other groups (and with the state) is characterised as rational instrumental orientation.[21]

Taking into account the processes that took place in 1989 in Budapest, Berlin, Prague, Sophia and Bucharest, in his book Reflections on Revolutions in Eastern Europe, the political scientist Ralph Dahrendorf detects a common objective of all these “changes” or rather “revolutions”, i.e. their anti-dictatorship and anti-totalitarian character. Yet the phenomenon is much more complex and its aim was to build the new Eastern European societies on real democratic principles and on the principles of the state of justice. In this context, civil society knew a significant process of revitalisation. Auto-determination and the implication of individuals that think and act acquired in the whole world an ever greater importance. By their action they became everywhere in the world and especially in Western and Eastern countries major actors in the environmental protection movement and in the defence of human rights and liberties. When the conflict between East and West ended, most of the states tended to consider themselves as more and more democratic, and, consequently, more civil and closer to the values of civil societies in terms of human rights, protection of the environment, defence of freedom, etc. Further on, we shall refer to civil society’s functioning and existence in inter-war and nowadays Romania, as well as in Central and Eastern Europe.

But can we still speak of a civil society in today’s Romania? The question seems rhetorical, yet we shall try to show how it functions.  





Romania’s civil society developed more thoroughly only after the enforcement of the Constitution of 1923 which stipulated the first plenary acknowledgment of the citizens’ freedom of association. However, till the first half of the nineteenth century, there were few significant activities organised at the level of the Romanian civil society. Nevertheless, all specialists agree that the existence and the assertion of civil society can be traced back only in Romania, whereas her neighbours, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union, were subject to dictatorship or to a severe totalitarianism. Therefore, in the inter-war period Romania’s democratic regime was widened and even generalised by the introduction of the universal suffrage which led to the emergence of a rather fragile civil society.

The well-known Romanian political scientist Matei Dogan underlined brilliantly these aspects and in 1946 he put them down in his Statistical Analysis of Romania’s Parliamentary Democracy.                                          

Did Romania really have in the inter-war decades a genuine parliamentary democracy? Matei Dogan’s answer leaves no doubt: “We cannot firmly state that during the inter-war period there was an authentically democratic regime in Romania”.[22] Furthermore, referring to the same context, this political scientist of Romanian origin, living on the banks of the Seine, explained even more minutely the causes of this phenomenon:


“We must… admit that in any democracy there is a gap between theory and reality. We may however say that this gap was nowhere else deeper than in Romania, a country where real democracy never existed. People’s sovereignty was just a name and franchise had nothing in common with a representative regime [...]. Liberties were too feebly fought for to be properly understood. The people remained calm while at the surface a delicate revolution was going on. There was no political education at all. There were many principles, but no visible progress was made. With the rulers’ abuses and dishonesty, with the rulers’ indolence and weakness, the Romanian people did not understand the value of the principles written in the Constitution and did not really assimilate the meaning of democratic virtues”.[23]


Thus, in the Romanian Parliament there was neither “a majority”, nor “a minority”, but there was constantly an overwhelming governmental majority that reduced the opposition to helplessness. Such a governmental majority in the Parliament was made up of one of the two ruling parties which alternatively reached the power and organised parliamentary elections. Matei Dogan analysed and commented upon these aspects. After 1937, what happened in Romania ensued almost naturally – the installation of dictatorships. During World War II, democracy and “civil society” were crushed by the authoritarian regimes and afterwards by the communist regime.

Later on, towards the end of the communist regime, in the period 1970-1980, various clubs, cultural associations, etc. began to appear in Romania too, still the country was not shaken by dissident movements led by intellectuals, as it happened in Poland, the Soviet Union or Czechoslovakia.  

Starting with the last days of December 1989 and especially in 1990, Romania’s civil society developed impetuously. Several free trade unions were created at all the levels of the society: in economic organisations, institutions and universities. Freedom was displayed and hailed everywhere. However, “in the absence of a genuine associative culture, the emerging of a new civil society had to be approached from a new perspective and that is why international institutions, Western governments and illustrious foreign donors (George Soros, for instance – A/N) developed various programs in order to support the apparition of civil society in Romania”.[24] Consequently, numerous civic organisations, cultural magazines, publishing houses, parties, associations and cultural societies sprang to life at every turn. In 1990, there were more than a hundred political parties. In those days, the Provisional Council of National Union (a system in which all the parties existing till February 1, 1990 were represented) as well as the National Salvation Front (a party in power till the elections of May the same year) witnessed very interesting but also controversial debates. The analysis of civil society’s evolution in the beginning of the 1990s reveals two different stages of development. Thus, in the early 1990s, “civil society had to free itself of the totalitarian regime heritage and to fight for an autonomous space of its own within the state’s sphere. In the second part of the 1990s, the political environment having improved, civil society gained a better defined profile and established certain roles”.[25] Any measure with however small a totalitarian tendency was immediately contested and criticised. The authority of the state and of the institutions was scorned culminating with the greatest mass demonstration ever seen in Romania, known by the name of University Square. Moreover, the entire authority of the state was in danger, phenomenon which had critical consequences on the evolution of the Romanian democratic process. Because of this profound crisis of the state’s authority, in Romania, more than in her neighbour countries, the construction and consolidation of the democratic regime was characterised by powerful social anarchy, and serious antisocial actions at the level of economic and civil life, prejudicing the national wealth and injuring the Romanian civil society.

“Civil society” became therefore very active and expressed itself heartily, the citizens’ participation was enthusiastic and was supported by extensive street protests. Nonetheless, in certain cases, many pre-existing and still necessary laws were infringed and even elementary cohabitation rules regulating social life as well as certain decisions of the new regime were sometimes violated.

Nevertheless, the gradual consolidation of a democratic state (a bicameral legislature), the drafting of the Constitution and its validation by referendum in December 1991 were but some of the compulsory conditions of a democratic society, which does not mean that the two processes identify themselves. There are a real non-synchrony and asymmetry between them, as the development of a democratic society represents a much more complex objective than the simple building up of the institutions of the state of justice. The construction of a democratic society also implies the stability and the progress of economy, without which an authentic social integration becomes unthinkable. Notwithstanding, a democratic society also supposes the creation and existence of a wide democratic tradition, of a civil society, of the social groups that constitute it, of a better social conduct and of social morals. All these are the complex aspects of civil society entailing not only the functioning of parliamentary institutions, the observance of man’s rights and the citizen’s liberties, but also the active penetration of democratic values and regulations in the individual and collective mind. In the following years (1991-1996), many NPOs (non-profit organisations) stemmed from and operated in the economic and social fields, but the relationship between NPOs and policy-makers improved rather slowly and in 1996 the coalition around the Democratic Convention was considerably supported by civil society’s quite active forces, mainly by the Civic Alliance. In this respect, many NPOs prominent leaders, as well as many distinguished intellectuals joined the new administration and received different functions, as presidential advisors, ambassadors or government officials. Civil society being at that time very dynamic, it determined a change of Romania’s political regime. The party which organised the elections lost them and it was unequivocally proven that the elections were correctly conducted and that in Romania freedom was sanctioned and guaranteed. In spite of certain difficult still persisting situations, it was obvious that in Romania society was functioning and was organised on solid democratic principles. However, those who expected and hoped that the changes would be reinforced were in the long run deceived. Despite all, during this period of time were laid the institutional bases for an adequate functioning of the parliamentary democratic regime. In Romania the standards and the rules that make the democratic game possible were by that time observed. We have in mind the rules of consensus, competition, majority, minority, alternation, institutional control and lawfulness. However, the rule of accountability functioned rather feebly in the democratic process of Romania. Although there exists a law regarding ministerial responsibility, neither in the recent past did it function, nor nowadays. And although everybody accepts the thesis according to which the Democratic Convention’s victory is to be credited to civil society’s support, democracy in Romania suffered considerably because of the vicissitudes encountered by civil society. After the elections of 2000, the relationship between civil society and the new social democratic government was a thorny one, and the government was often accused of trying to subdue both media and civil society.[26]

That is why the change of power of 2004 was perceived as positive, since the new government was considered to be cooperative with civil society.[27] But things did not go on so smoothly and some of the many hardships civil society would have to cope with would have their roots in this kind of “cooperation”. Nowadays, civil society crosses a very difficult period. Because of the frequent attempts to limit civic rights by overbidding totalitarianism, freedom itself is queried in Romania. Needless to say, in civil society the safeguarding of liberty implies the existence of ethos and of the awareness that life is to be lived in a community. Liberty is always influenced by the good functioning of democratic forms so that the management of civic affairs might be entrusted to persons pertaining to all social classes according to their activity, merits and professional capacities. Therefore, the noncompliance of civic rights leads to the nonexistence of civil society. However, there are civic rights in Romania, still, by and large, they are only formally acknowledged. Consequently, modern democracy should imperatively prevent the transformation of the leaders into a dictatorial minority. The repeated attempts to use the procedure for government accountability and the disregard of the Parliament are all significant symptoms that impede the correct functioning of the democratic game.

That is why, the purpose of the frequent free elections organised on a large scale in other countries is to confront and test the democratic qualities of a society and to submit democratic institutions to a systematic survey so that the persons who have the power might be reconfirmed on or replaced from the political scene.  

This is a first function secured by the elective mechanisms of democracy, which guarantees that the options of certain majorities will become dominant interests at local and political levels. Thus can be elaborated tendencies in defining regional and national strategies of collective administration acceptable to various socio-human entities. The second function is secured by more subtle mechanisms, the so called selective mechanisms of democracy meant to formulate and thereafter to implement this strategy. It goes without saying that in today’s Romania all these things do not exist. Lately, Romanian unions were not able to organise any large demonstration and there was a pensioners’ movement at which only one person was present. Yet “participation” and civic activism are the distinctive signs of a genuine civil society.

“Civil society” has three levels of manifestation. The first level refers to the individual, to the way he relates to power (following his own interests), to his civic and social rights. The second level is the level of autonomous social groups. At this level individuals’ interests crystalise giving them the possibility to manifest themselves outside political institutions. Finally, the last level includes political parties, associations, clubs, etc. through which individuals’ interests and desires express themselves more efficiently with regard to political society (power). Having in mind Romania’s concrete social realities we may say that the major structural weakness of civil society is the citizens’ low level of participation in associative life, along with a feeble level of organization and limited relationships among civil society organizations, all these aspects hindering the development of a strong non-governmental sector. Despite the numerous attempts made by civil society organisations to mobilise the citizens around problems of both local and national public interest, people’s reaction remains shy. Although improved in 2005 and 2006, the organisation of Romania’s civil society is still fragile, marked by a limited cooperation and communication among civil society organisations. Thus, in a well-constituted civil society, if we may speak of “direct democracy”, then it stops at the first above mentioned level, i.e. at the role of bestowing confidence upon persons elected according to their capacity to be represented. This statute may also be acquired according to a sum of specific qualities which allow them to integrate into a superior political game, where the ordinary man’s diverse options (and more than once divergent) are interpreted and correlated in order to voice the fundamental interests of certain groups, communities, etc.

Another major aspect is that a community which identifies itself by certain values and assumes general responsibilities becomes a component of civil society. And as soon as the social group’s identity is affirmed and institutionalised, it becomes an active element in the sphere of social and political relationships. The uppermost level of civil society functionality is its relationship with state institutions. This ratio expresses the capacity of civil society organisms to interpret social reality according to a criterion of authentic adherence to the interests of social groups in whose name they speak without resorting to opportunism or fashions. Therefore civil society without which authentic democracy cannot be conceived implies a continuous formation of a political class, made up of a political party system. Consequently, the multiparty system is a sine qua non condition of the existence of a civil society worthy of this name and offering to social groups and classes the opportunity to militate for freedom, autonomy, identity, civilisation and human dignity. Partially that is why the institutionalisation of the single-party system existing in the former communist regime and claiming to hold the monopoly of power irreconcilably contradicts the ideal of liberty and of social group autonomy, as well as the groups’ possibility to manifest their specificity as actors of history.

But when civil society is too frail in a state, it gets isolated and its role in the democratic transformation of a country decreases significantly. It is precisely what we have witnessed in Romania until recently. The country’s resources diminish or are reduced and at the same time are directed towards other destinations, as governance or transparency. On that account, one of NPOs main role was to participate in the democratisation of the Romanian society. One of the most important tools they used to reach this objective were a democratic discourse, the introduction and promotion of good practices cultivated by foreign NPOs. Taking into account the salutary results obtained by Romanian NPOs, they were perceived as real promoters of democratic values in Romanian society. And they were accepted as indispensable partners of both the Romanian government and E.U. For this reason, they can be identified with such organisations as those whose objective is to consolidate a democratic society in Romania. For instance, the Pro-democracy Association is one of the most visible organisations, for it succeeds to mobilise large masses and due to the impact of its activity. In this respect, we should also mention as active promoters of high democratic values the Romanian Academic Society, the Institute for Public Policies or the Centre for Independent Journalism.[28] In Romania, nowadays the state accepts the autonomy of civil society, still its organisations are sometimes the object of uncalled for interferences. If at national level autonomy is no longer a major problem, at local level public authorities still exert a quite visible influence on NPOs activities. In this respect, the case of the Pro-Europe League of Târgu Mureş constitutes an eloquent example. After having criticised the mayor of Târgu Mureş, civil society organisations were threatened that they would be evacuated from their headquarters situated in a building owned by the state. Such cases were investigated by researchers and their conclusion is that in many localities there is a relationship of dependency or even of clientelism between NPOs and political actors.[29]

However, both NPOs and the state struggle to find a way towards a genuine dialogue. The first efforts to reach an institutional relation can be traced back in 1994, but the situation took an evident turn for the better in 1996, when different structures were set up in order to secure the dialogue of the state with NPOs at local as well as national level. Within the government, each ministry possesses an office charged to supervise the relationship with civil society and to inform it on the cabinet’s programme and activity; needless to say, there are certain offices which do not perform their duties. At local level, despite a few exceptions, the interaction is satisfactory. At national level, NPOs are invited to state their opinion on legislative or political projects, as well as on public policies, but NPOs representatives pretend this attitude is purely formal, since the government seldom takes into consideration the suggestions made by civil society. As the access to legislation is rather limited, NPOs contributions to implement public policies are often obstructed. Still, as far as the implementation of the community acquis is concerned, the cabinet took counsel with NPOs on certain chapters and acknowledged their beneficent contribution.

It is worth mentioning that in Romania only a small number of NPOs benefits of the state’s support.[30] As far as NPOs are concerned, we may conclude that their activity stimulates the development of civil society.

The most stable democracies, namely those where all these mechanisms function well or almost well, succeed to reduce as much as possible discordant options at macro political level by defusing tense situations at “local political” level (simple administrative management). Thus, the complex network of civil society operates like an unobtrusive system of individual and social behaviour conditionings, as an integrative matrix of each individual in the universe of culture, traditions, morals, common sense, conformism, etc. that contribute to build and structure a nationwide moral and intellectual coherence, endorsed by a convergence of certain political and economic objectives nourished by different social groups.

By attentively feeling the social pulse, in democratic societies the political class does not oppose civil society, but rather follows its trail. The interaction of civil society with the state engenders a minimal social cohesion, wherein civil society elements represent a sort of self-control, self-regulation and self-improvement of the “social body”. Civil society is a structure specialised in reducing tensions or conflictive situations generated by their discordant interests in order to insert them in a “normal” dynamics recognised as such by the state. In Romania, in spite of a normal development of civil society, particularly in the last five years we notice a disregard especially of state authorities as far as civil society is concerned. In this respect, the vigorous revival of secret services stands as an outrageous example. Public opinion does not cease to warn that specialised agencies have the possibility to interfere in Romanian citizens’ private calls. Moreover, media is about to become more and more centralised, newspapers acting like propaganda tools favouring in power authorities. And to crown it all, the MPs of the former governing party struggled to pronounce media “a threat” and finally succeeded in doing so.

Until last year, at every step, Romanian authorities were infringing the principles of the state of justice and the separation of powers doctrine. The most revealing example to illustrate this statement is that Romanian judges (i.e. the judicial power) were “forced” to obey the former ruling party’s orders. The Supreme Council of Magistracy (S.C.M.) is the only institution that seems to ignore the Romanian president’s express command. For this reason, in his frequent apparitions on T.V. president Băsescu has declared that justice representatives “have compromised themselves”. Even the Senate was often rebuked because it did not embrace the order “established” by the former majority in Parliament. The upper chamber of the Romanian Parliament was permanently scolded. Instead of being voted in Parliament, laws were enforced directly by the government which as a general rule disdained parliamentary regulations. An event never seen before in democratic societies happened in 2009 – premier Boc’s government was deposed through a motion of censure initiated by the opposition. After the Romanian president’s refusal to appoint Mr Johannes as prime minister, Emil Boc became once more the leader of the cabinet. And after the presidential elections of 2009, it was the same Mr Boc who was nominated as Romania’s prime minister. A new majority in the Parliament was obtained through a clever expedient: some former MPs of the Social Democratic Party and of the National Liberal Party created a new party, friendly to the government. After countless abnormal stratagems and compromises, or after sometimes brutal interferences in the functioning of Romania’s Parliament, Romanian democracy itself seemed jeopardised. What about civil society?            

On the eve of 2008 and 2009 parliamentary and Euro-parliamentary elections, the Romanian Academic Society (R.A.S.) played an important role in establishing a “clean” Parliament, in promoting the state of justice and in invigorating civil society. Mrs Alina Mungiu’s successful, still short-lived protests aimed to impede the president’s daughter candidature for the Euro-parliamentary elections. Finally Elena Băsescu did not candidate on behalf of the Democratic Liberal Party - however she became a Euro-deputy by presenting herself in the elections as independent, generously supported by the afore mentioned party. In this case did civil society function normally? Most of the (competent) specialists will by no means answer that it did not.





Nowadays, in Central and Eastern Europe civil society seems to function better than in Romania. One of the causes might lie in a different historical background, for in countries as Poland, Czechoslovakia or Hungary certain elements of civil society could manifest themselves even during the previous political regime. An even more profound explanation might be that in those regions liberties and rights have much deeper roots. “In Poland and Czechoslovakia intellectuals and workers tried to loosen the totalitarian screw-vice.” As far as civil society is concerned, Hungary too has an interesting history. Long before the changes of 1989, and long before Gorbachev’s ascension at the head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, civil society’s functioning was the talk of all Budapest. More precisely, people then talked about a “School of Budapest”, as well as about certain names inspired initially by Lukacs’ ideas, who became great celebrities even on the other side of the Atlantic. Let’s name just Agnes Heller, Ferenc Fehler, Gyorgy Markus and Mihaly Vajda, and we shall have a general idea about Hungarian civil society.                                                                    

The quite complex creation of the “School of Budapest” was essentially the work of Georg Lukacs, who founded it shortly before he passed away. His last book “The Ontology of Social Being” generated many debates, and some of his pupils criticised the master’s great unachieved work by expressing their skepticism about some of the Hungarian philosopher’s solutions. After 1971 this “school” was enriched by Agnes Heller’s contributions, but a decisive role was played by Istvan Herman, who co-opted an important number of industrious young men. By attacking their “master”, they brought again to light the “theory of reflection” formulated in the “Ontology”, denounced the ambiguity of the terms of “essence-phenomenon”, as well as the questionable definition of the relation between natural sciences and philosophy, etc. Such writings and contributions, the “novelties” they introduced and the “transgressing” of the ideological frame imposed by the “political instructors” of that time called for discussions and generated new opinions that undermined the Stalinist dogmatism. In the context of the 1980s Mihaly Vajda’s work seems particularly interesting. In his article “The Philosopher and Politics”, published in a German newspaper, Vajda breaks up with “friend Lukacs” and dissociates himself not only of his master’s work, but also of his master’s “behaviour”. Early in the 1990s, Budapest’s philosophical debates find another space of manifestation. The young doctoral candidates of the University of Debrecen create a new school, whose main concern is no longer to debate Lukacs’ work, but to study Wittgenstein, Heidegger, or postmodernism.                  

Agnes Heller and Vajda appear frequently in the media and discuss mainly topics related to socio-political realities.

The domestic as well as the international renown of the “School of Budapest” encouraged free debates and influenced the changes that took place shortly after 1987 and mainly after 1989. We must bear in mind that in such a climate the changes and the transformations were for the most part spurred by Gorbachev’s ascension in USSR. Certainly, it was not by accident that in this part of the East the frontiers were opened for East-German refugees on September 12, 1989. Throughout this period, debates and discussions represented the fundamental elements of an active civil society, quite influential in Hungary even in the last communist decades of the preceding century. The assertion of the freedom of speech and the stimulation of dialogue and political initiative are all essential aspects of Hungarian civil society.  

Especially after 1987, the Hungarian (dissident) opposition maintained an ambivalent relationship with the power, the opposition’s suggestions being quite often taken into account. It was the case of Andrea Hegedüs’ ideas, a reformist sociologist and former prime minister of Hungary. Other openings were brought about by economic activities and aimed to increase the social control of “the producers’ democratic associations” over the state. Ianos Kis conceived a strategy regarding the relationship of a self-organised and self-limited civil society with the “communist” regime.[31] The same year, many dissidents buttressed a programme meant to renew and reform Hungarian society, having a “precise message: Kadar must leave”. Their programme also encompassed the prohibition of censorship, social rights for employees, and new guarantees concerning the protection of individual rights.[32] Hungarian civil society influenced hugely the political factor during the events of 1989 and 1990, the members of the ruling Communist Party and especially its leadership participating actively in the reformation of the socialist state. The Hungarian opposition could discuss freely and unlimitedly with Imre Pozgay and Karoly Grosz. At that time, the Hungarian people organised meetings and demonstrations partaking of a sort of enlightened reformism and transgressing the bounds of “perestroika”.

The analysis of the situation in Czechoslovakia, chiefly after 1977, when “Charta 77” was initiated, is quite interesting and provides relevant evidence for civil society’s existence and functioning in Central and Eastern Europe, especially after the “freezing” that followed the end of “the Prague Spring”. Threatened by president Husek’s regime to return to Stalinism, Prague witnessed the blossoming of a protest inspired by the Declaration of Helsinki. The most important founders, Jan Patočka, Vaclav Havel, Jiri Majek, etc. created a “civic initiative” in order to implement in Czechoslovakian society a sense of civic responsibility,[33] civil and political rights, etc. Besides Havel, who highlighted especially in “The Power of the Powerless” a fundamental aspect of “power”, or of “cultural” hegemony, indispensable for the correct understanding of the functioning of political power mechanisms, another great representative of “Charta 77” was Jan Patočka.                        

The famous Czechoslovakian philosopher, former student of Husserl, studied phenomenology and made a name for himself even before World War II. In 1968, during Dubcek’s government, Jan Patočka involves himself heartily in “the Prague Spring”. Among his most celebrated works we must cite “Plato and Europe” and especially “Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History”. After the end of “the Prague Spring”, he accepted to be the first signatory and spokesman of “Chart 77”, a democratic movement, founded in 1977, and hostile to the Czechoslovakian pro-soviet government. Due to this steadfast involvement with the movement, he was subject to long interrogations, had to be hospitalised, as he suffered from some form of heart disease, and shortly afterwards he died, on March 13, 1977.[34] During his interrogation by pro-government agents, Patočka expressed his lifelong creed, namely that there must be something fundamentally non-technical and non-instrumental, there must be an obvious non-accidental ethic, an unconditioned morality… Morals do not exist to make society function; they exist so that man might be a man. It is not man who defines a moral order according to his needs, aspirations, tendencies or desires, on the contrary, it is morality that defines man.

After Patočka’s death, Vaclav Havel continued to defend and extend the principles of “Chart 77”. By mightily defending human rights, the chart became the core around which orbited the entire civil society of Czechoslovakia. All of Havel’s discourses and writings abound in references to totalitarianism:


“Totalitarian systems represent the absolute rule of an anonymous self-confident bureaucratic power, not yet wholly irresponsible, but already acting outside consciousness, a power based on omnipresent ideological fiction, able to rationalise everything and never having to confront itself with truth. It is a power [...] that transforms thought, morality and privacy into a state monopoly, achieving thereby the performance of totally des-humanizing them all. It is a power that has long since ceased to concern only a small group of arbitrary rulers, it is an all invading power, swallowing everybody, so that everything and everybody should merge into it, at least through their silence”.[35]


Further on, Havel declares that “a totalitarian power represents an alarm signal for contemporary civilization”. In some other writings, Havel insists that we should live in society “only in the name of truth”. This thesis was formulated as late as 1963 by the representatives of the Soviet intelligentsia, such as Solzhenitsyn and Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the co-authors of the manifesto “Live not in lies”. In a similar way, in “The power of the Powerless”, the dissident Havel sympathises with those who still believe in a new kind of humanity, different from the small group of Western bourgeois.[36] In Havel’s view, it is possible to establish a new type of humanitarian order, a sort of “new polis”, a parallel polis. This would be a kind of power established outside the already existing structure. He has in mind a structure able to generate ethical values, values that give life a meaning and contribute to the revival of an authentic democracy. Havel shared Potočka’s opinion, namely that “a solidarity of the beaten” is thus created. They both referred to “those who dared to face the impersonal power, countering it with the only thing they had at their disposal: their own humanity”.[37] For more than ten years, “Charta 77” concurred to the awakening or rather to the revival of the Czechoslovakian society. The intellectual upholders of the chart tried to win to their cause “those who were not satisfied with how things went on in their country”. During the last years of the regime, more and more people joined the demonstrators and protesters. On the eve of 1989 changes, the workers joined the intellectuals and the students went to factories trying feverishly to convince the population to mobilise and act. The streets echoed with slogans such as “We are the people, but you, whom are you with?”

In 1988, twenty years after the suppression of “the Prague Spring” and due to the influence of “Chart 77”, Dubcek’s name was again on everybody’s lips. The general strike of November 27, 1989 paralysed the whole society. At the end of the same year, the Czechoslovakian communist regime fell. Civil society had made possible a “velvet revolution”.

Slovenia offers us another remarkable example. In this state, created in 1991, after having detached itself from the former Yugoslavia, civil society asserted itself as an alternative and not as an “opposition”, as a distinct sphere, independent and opponent to the action of the state. The distinction between state and civil society was the starting point for the critique and rejection of the self-governing system. As an alternative, civil society assumed the understanding of civil and social action as a positive activity, producing new open social spaces that created an alternative culture and independent public spheres.[38] The magazine Punk hosted the first new social movement in Slovenia that introduced the concept of independent social life, proving that it was really possible and inventing the first elements of a new social and political language. Civil society is a sine qua non condition of democracy. And Slovenia was longing to have one too.

If there is no democracy without civil society, it is not however impossible to imagine a civil society without democracy or even against it.[39] Thus, when it finally reaches the power, civil society represents an unlimited power, yet the novelty added by the democratic opposition in comparison with the old regimes was the very idea of self-limitation.[40] In Croatia, another member state of Yugoslavia, there existed, ever since the 1970s, an important theoretical magazine, Praxis, that drew the intellectual elite of the whole Yugoslavia, introduced themes of analysis which captivated the public’s attention at that time, was highly appreciated in the Western world and had an almost unprecedented liberty of expression in Eastern Europe. Thus, this magazine organised periodical debates that were attended by numerous personalities who discussed Lukacs’ ideas, a fact then impossible in neighbouring Hungary.[41] The intellectual and even the political elite, as well as the Croatian public opinion frequently pinpointed the potentialities and the limitations, the issues and the uncertainties of their country’s trajectory delimited by the identifying homologation and specificity. A significant nucleus developed and contributed to the evolution and assertion of an active and projective civil society in relation to the intricate situation that was to come after 1990. Stefano Bianchini, a reputed specialist in this region, stated that the Eastern world “produced reforms and new political systems, specific ways of building modernity which brought about an evolution of history and a creation of particular politics anticipating sometimes themes, problems and anxieties that finally reached Western societies too”.[42] In this respect, we should point out that when he began to implement his reforms, M. Gorbachev had much confidence in the historical “innovations” from this part of the world, yet innovations which were obstructed and experiences which in the last decade of the twentieth century turned into a catastrophe that made Europe shiver.    





Theoretically speaking, we may say that up to now the researchers have continued to minutely investigate the concept of civil society. We have in mind researchers and scientists as Robert Cox, Jean L. Cohen, Stephen Gill, Anne Showstack Sasson, who, following N. Bobbio, interpreted Gramsci by using the concepts of “international hegemony” and “civil society” inserted in a reading of the present political frame connected to the economic globalisation issue.[43] In this respect, let us also mention Robert Cox, who, starting from Bobbio’s lesson on civil society as conceived by Gramsci, underlined both Gramsci’s and Tocqueville’s pioneering ideas. Indeed, Cox agrees that the present reduction of the role played by the state is achieved either by taking into account the fact that the stress laid on oppressed groups disappeared, or by opening “a new opportunity”, the revival of “the complex of autonomous collective action” concerning subordinate classes. It is a whole complex that might constitute civil society.

Robert Cox, for instance, includes in civil society the entire network of non-profit organisations that along with the voluntary system represent those interstitial forms which are not part of the market. We refer to that “framework where cultural transformations take place”, as Antonio Gramsci put it in Quaderni. On this basis, Cox speaks about a new participatory democracy and “a global civil society”, ground of a possible “alternative world order”. Jean L. Cohen too redefines civil society as an “aggregate of voluntary associations”. In 1992, together with Andrew Arato, Cohen wrote “Civil Society and Political Theory”. In their work, the authors underline the “relevance to modern political theory of the concept of civil society and the attempt of building at least the general framework of a theory of civil society, fit to the conditions existing in contemporary societies”.[44] The specialists as well as the public pay again close attention to the concept of civil society, because of their confrontation with military and communist dictatorships in different parts of the world. It is easy for Cohen to place Gramsci in the centre of cultural storms, since the Sardinian thinker insisted heavily on the autonomy of society in its relation with the state, Gramsci being perceived in this case as one of the “noble parents” of the trend which opposes civil society to the state.

Stephen Gill too stresses the intellectuals’ importance in creating an alternative “collective conscience”. Classes and parties have no place in this frame. Very interesting and actual is also Giuseppe Vacca’s interpretation, according to which Gramsci is the “thinker of globalisation, of the crisis of the nation-state and of the creation of a global civil society”.[45] Marcela Montomari argues that especially if we take into consideration the post-national democratic horizon, the centrality of civil society and the acknowledgment of the important role of the market these are the most important frameworks for the interpretation of democracy and of the issues of contemporary societies. In the context of contemporary debates on civil society Anne Showstack Sasson’s considerations are also very interesting. This author too refers to voluntarism, NPOs, the tertiary sector, all these being the substance of the new relationships linking the state and the individual. Civil society is the texture through which are reclassified the duties and the supporting roles of the “welfare state”, as well as the capitalist market economy, incapable otherwise to satisfy most of the individuals’ needs and requirements. Benedetto Fontana of USA stresses the frequent “utilisation in today’s cultural and political debates of the term of civil society as conceived either by Gramsci and Hegel or by the liberals”.        






BIANCHINI, Stefano, Le sfide della modernità, Rubbetino Editore, Catanzara, 2009.

DOGAN, Matei, Analiza statistică a “democrației parlamentare” din România, Editura Partidului social-democrat, București, 1946.

GRAMSCI, Antonio, Quaderni del carcere, Einaudi, Torino, 1975.

HAVEL, Vaclav, “Politica antipolitică”, Polis, No. 1, 1994.

HEGEL, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, Principiile filosofiei dreptului, Editura Academiei, București, 1969.

JAKOBSON, Roman, “Dal curriculum vitae di un filosofo ceca”, in Jan PATOCIKA, Saggi eretici sulla filosofia della storia, Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Torino, 2008.

KANT, Immanuel, – Scritti politici e di filosofia della storia del diritto, Utet, Torino, 1956.

LIGUORI, Guido, Sentieri gramsciani, Ed. Carocci, Roma, 2006.

MARX, Karl, La questione ebraica e altri scritti giovanili, Editori Riuniti, Roma, 1969.

MONTESQUIEU, Charles-Louis, Despre spiritul legilor, Vol. II, Ed. Științifică, București, 1970.

PATOCIKA, Jan, Saggi eretici sulla filosofia della storia, Ed. Einaudi, Torino, 2008.

POP, Adrian, Originile și tipologia revoluțiilor est-europene, Ed. Enciclopedică, București, 2010.

RORTY, Richard, “Canteremo nuove canzone?”, in Giancarlo BOSETTI (a cura di), Sinistra punto zero, Donzelli Editori, Roma, 1993.

SELIGMAN, Adam, L’idea di società civile, Garzanti Editore, Milano, 1993.

SPINOZA, Baruch, Trattato teologico-politico (a cura di Emanuela Scribano), La nuova Italia, Firenze, 1993.

STOICA, Gheorghe L., Concepte, idei și analize politice, Ed. Diogene, București, 1999.

SZABO, Tibor, Gyorgy Lukacs, filosofo autonomo, Ed. La Città del Sole, Napoli, 2005.

*** Dialogue for Civil Society, “Report on the state of civil society in Romania”, 2005.






[1] Adam SELIGMAN, L’idea di società civile, Garzanti Editore, Milano, 1993, p. 7.

[2] Ibidem, p. 31.

[3] Baruch SPINOZA, Tratat teologico-politic, Editura Științifică, București, 1960, p. 86.

[4] Charles-Louis MONTESQUIEU, Despre spiritul legilor, Vol. II, Ed. Științifică, București, 1970, p. 228.

[5] Immanuel KANT, Scritti politici e di filosofia della storia del diritto, Utet, Torino, 1956, p. 294.

[6] Ibidem, p. 294.

[7] Adam SELIGMAN, L’idea di società civilecit., p. 61.

[8] Gheorghe L. STOICA, Concepte, idei și analize politice, Ed. Diogene, București, 1999, p. 106

[9] Georg Wilhelm Friedrich HEGEL, Principiile filosofiei dreptului, Editura Academiei, București, 1969, pp. 222-223.

[10] Karl MARX, La questione ebraica e altri scritti giovanili, Editori Riuniti, Roma, 1969, pp. 78-79 (“Sulla questione ebraica”).

[11] Adam SELIGMAN, L’idea di società civilecit., p. 14.

[12] Ibidem, p. 70.

[13] Antonio GRAMSCI, Quaderni del carcere, Einaudi, Torino, 1975, p. 703.

[14] Gheorghe L. STOICA, Concepte, idei și analize…cit., p.109.

[15] Antonio GRAMSCI, Quaderni…cit., p. 215.

[16] Adam SELIGMAN, L’idea di società civilecit., p. 13.

[17] Ibidem, p. 119.

[18] Ibidem, p. 223.

[19] Ibidem, p. 7.

[20] Ibidem, pp. 226-227.

[21] Ibidem, p. 17.

[22] Matei DOGAN, Analiza statistică a “democrației parlamentare” din România, Editura Partidului social-democrat, București, 1946, p. 109.

1 Ibidem, p. 110.

[24] Dialogue for Civil Society, “Report on the state of civil society, in Romania”, 2005, p. 18.

[25] Ibidem, p. 21.


[26] Ibidem, p. 19.

[27] Ibidem, p. 20.


[28] Ibidem, p. 48.

[29] Ibidem, p. 42.

[30] Ibidem, p. 46.


[31] Adrian POP, Originile și tipologia revoluțiilor est-europene, Ed. Enciclopedică, București, 2010.

[32] Ibidem.


[33] Jan PATOCIKA, Saggi eretici sulla filosofia della storia, Einaudi, Torino, 2008, p. 176.

[34] Vaclav HAVEL, “Politica antipolitică”, Polis, No. 1, 1994, pp. 86-87.

[35] Ibidem, p. 3.

[36] Richard RORTY, “Canteremo nuove canzone?”, in Giancarlo BOSETTI (a cura di), Sinistra punto zero, Donzelli Editori, Roma, 1993, p. 76.

[37] Tomaz MASTNAK, Polis, No. 1, 1994, p. 102.

[38] Ibidem, p. 103.

[39] Ibidem, p. 105.

[40] Adrian POP, Originile și tipologia revoluțiilorcit., p. 411.

[41] Tibor SZABO, Gyorgy Lukacs, filosofo autonomo, Ed. La Città del Sole, Napoli, 2005, p. 240.

[42] Stefano BIANCHINI, Le sfide della modernità, Rubbetino, Catanzara, 2009, pp. 319-320.

[43] Guido LIGUORI, Sentieri gramsciani, Ed. Carocci, Roma, 2006, p. 37.

[44] Ibidem, p. 38.

[45] Ibidem, p. 39.