The formation of ‘civil society’ everywhere is an integral part of the process of modernization. It is directly related to economic growth, on the one hand, and to the founding of pluralist politics, on the other. An influential civil society helps to counter the repressive tendencies both of political power and of economic power. These are the ‘general conditions’ of civil society – analysed in more detail below – which naturally take on different forms, according to the specific historical, social or cultural developments in any given country. Thus in France, historically, the state has been powerful and civil society correspondingly weak and fragmented. Currently, however, this situation is being reversed.