Commentators have long struggled to understand state-society relations in Asia within the framework of the dominant liberal-democratic conceptualisation of civil society. This article examines the relevance of Antonio Gramsci's theory of civil society for understanding contemporary Cambodia and Vietnam, with reference to both legal and social frameworks. Such an analysis illuminates important aspects of state-society relations in Southeast Asia that tend to be overlooked by dominant liberal and Marxist perspectives. This article argues, however, that the utility of Gramsci's conception of civil society for understanding state-society relations in Cambodia and Vietnam, by retaining the notion of civil society as a realm associatively separate from the state, is limited.
- Civil society
- State-society relations