Western societies have accomplished relative autonomy of the state, civil society, and market. The current thrust of social transformation in post-colonial and post-socialist societies also point in the same direction. This article traces the trajectory of autonomization achieved and/or attempted in these societies, and identifies the implications of the processes involved for theory construction. It is argued that in the context of mobilizing for change, privileging either state, civil society, or market would be a rash prejudgment. The possessive individualism of the West articulated in its rapacious market mechanisms alienates individuals destroys communal life. With reference to India, I trace out how the current tendency of privileging civil society as the sole agency to reestablish democratic values in past socialist societies-and relegating the state to the background-may foment serious intergroup conflicts. The recently initiated process of economic liberalization in the part-colonial democratic societies often ignores that there is nothing much to chose between the behemoth of the market and the leviathan of a state. It is suggested that only an equipoise between the state, society and market can produce a 'good society."

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