Structured, Transitional and Unstructured Civil Societies: An Institutional Approach


  • Rubén Méndez Reategui Miembro del staff académico del Departamento de Eco-nomía de la Universidad de Macquarie.



This paper seeks to introduce an alternative conceptual taxonomy of civil society as an input to Austrian law and economics and neo-institutional economics. The conceptual framework of the paper develops three categories: unstructured, transitional, and structured civil societies. This categorization was, in part, inspired by Parsons’ (1966, p. 33) contribution to functional sociology: «Society is an intelligent structure, rationally structured to integrate its com-plex parts into a coherent whole (...) A social system consists of a plurality of social agents interacting with each other in a situation which has at least a physical or environmental aspect, agents moti-vated by a tendency towards the “optimization of satisfaction” whose interactions with their own circumstances, are defined and influenced by a culturally shared system of structured symbols.»

However, our proposal does not focus on the associative system as a «set» of aggregates (Parsons, 1968).1 In contrast, following a previous academic paper (Mendez, 2013), the individuality of the agents is assumed. This differs from Parsons’ approach (1978), where agents become secondary receivers in the process of so-cialization. In addition, it has been assumed in this paper that the permanent display of individualism (economic subjectivism) in civil society occurs through the interaction of associative agents (Garcia-Guadilla et al., 1997). These individuals acting as «creative or entrepreneurial agents» (Kirzner, 1978a) help to maintain asso-ciative cohesion through productive entrepreneurship (Baumol, 1990).


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How to Cite

Reategui, R. M. . (2014). Structured, Transitional and Unstructured Civil Societies: An Institutional Approach. REVISTA PROCESOS DE MERCADO, 11(2), 299–327.