This paper seeks to contextualise Azmi Bishara's Civil Society: A Critical Study. It argues that the book's added value lies in that it critiques reductionist approaches to civil society and reveals their failure to highlight the explanatory power and critical validity of the concept of civil society, as well as its democratic function. The book demonstrates how the concept has transformed from coinciding with the state whilst running parallel to natural society; passing through a stage of being an intermediary space between the individual, the state, and the market; then finally arriving at the distorted expression of that which is not the state which it has become, coinciding, hence, with the apolitical. The study begins with a review of the debates over the concept of civil society in the Global South Studies literature. It then proceeds to highlight the essential conceptual, theoretical, and historical problems of civil society with which Bishara engages in his book. Finally, the paper attempts to demonstrate how the book's arguments remain very relevant to the challenges facing civil society in Arab countries—regardless of the variance in their footing along the path to democratic transition.