By focusing on the momentous events of the nineteen-day general strike from April 6-24, 2006, that brought down the 400-year-old Nepali royal dynasty, the study highlights the implications of civil society action within the larger political arena involving conventional actors such as political parties, trade unions, armed revels, and foreign actors.
The detailed examination of civil society's involvement in Nepali regime change sheds light on four important themes in the study of civil society. The first relates to a clear distinction between civil society as a spontaneous philosophical and associational form in the West and its mimetic articulation in the developing. The second addresses the nature of the relationship between civil society and political society and the way the former generates its moral authority and efficacy based on claims to universal reason, knowledge, and techniques of polymorphous power. The third theme explores the connection between the ideological and material basis of civil society and distinguishes between its autonomous Western origin and the recent growth in the developing world. Finally, civil society is examined in the international area: the example of Nepal reveals ways in which civil societies in the developing world are burgeoning as alternative policy instruments in interstate relations.