“Underside” of Civil Society. Part 2. Separate Elements and their Scientific Cognition

Volume 2, Number 4, 2017, P. 23–41


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The article from the standpoint of a broad approach to understanding civil society’s attempt to argue a point of view that often civil society functions are performed by spontaneous Association of citizens that the government and politicized (semi-official) part of civil society either ignored, not taken seriously, «I do not want to notice», or really do not see, do not have information about their existence. Therefore, civil society is included as the elements that are in a state of active interaction with the state and with other political and civil society institutions (political parties, local government, trade unions, community councils, registered nonprofit organizations, media, etc.), and institutions with «systemic world» with little or no contact, operated in «shadow» mode, including in the legal sense of the terms. However, the existence of such institutions is objectively confirmed by empirical data.

In the first part of the article considers different approaches to understanding civil society, because according to him formed the understanding of its structure and the possibility of incorporating the «shadow» elements. An attempt is made to answer the question – what kind of social groups, communities and social institutions can, and what cannot be said to be a «shadow» elements of civil society? The author proposes to exclude from structure of civil society openly «extra-cultural», anti-social groups and associations operating in violation of universally recognized norms of morality, universally valid behavioral norms, and harmful to public relations and the interests of other members of society, and thus oppose itself to society. To designate them used the phrase «uncivil society». As opposed to ‘uncivil’ elements the author considers in detail a community of persons without a certain residence (homeless) as one of the «undersides» of civil society institutions in modern Russia.

In the second part of the article, the communities of citizens who should be regarded as «shadow» elements of civil society has consistently considered «street children», phenomenon «AUE», football fans as a typical example of the wide range of informal associations, a virtual shadow community: gamers, «group of death», etc. The author concludes that even those elements of the » undersides » civil society and youth community, which in its organization seem to have pronounced anti-social, extremist ideology, for example, a group of teenagers declaring themselves to be skinheads, or a group of «AUE», which in fact may be a mere imitation, having nothing to do with the real racist, nationalist underground, or the underworld. The participants have not yet «crossed the line», did not commit socially dangerous acts. However marginal their character is obvious, and if you do not perform time correction, the face will be overcome, will join the «uncivil» society. In this case, certainly need of individual preventive work with individuals of such groups, but seems to be more effective prevention work with the relevant groups, communities, in respect of phenomena in general. This requires integrated and interdisciplinary study of its phenomena of civil society. In search of tools for such studies the author of the article also referred briefly to the «undersides» of social phenomena, is organically linked to civil society: the informal economy and shadow law. Concluded that often shadow law is a normative system regulating social relations within communities that represent the elements of the «undersides» of civil society.

The final conclusion of the article: «undersides» social group formed based on their many social institutions are an integral part of civil society in Russia. The state must attempt a constructive dialogue with considered, still today, the informal institutions of civil society, to examine them by using biased research institutes, to provide assistance, including legal, in their organization and development – to the extent that they are necessary for citizens of the state, combine them. Civil society in Alliance with public authorities should take measures to transform shadow institutions, that is, to their gradual, not violent, delicate conversion in accordance with the interests and needs of citizens – their members by harmonizing these interests and needs with the outside world. At the same time, accumulated in the informal communities, the experience of informal intra-group communication, social communication can be used for the benefit of positive social development.


civil society, the «undersides» of civil society, social group, civil society Institute, law, shadow law, persons without a certain residence (homeless), informal youth association


Mushinskiy Mikhail A., Candidate of Juridical Sciences, Associate Professor, Head of State Law Sciences Department, Irkutsk National Research Technical University, Irkutsk, Russia

For citation:

Mushinskiy M.A. «Underside» of civil society. Part 2. The individual elements and their scientific knowledge // Social Competence. 2017, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 23–41. (In Russian)


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