Antonio Francesco Gramsci (UK: /ˈɡræmʃi/, US: /ˈɡrɑːmʃi/, Italian: [anˈtɔːnjo franˈtʃesko ˈɡramʃi] (listen); 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxist philosopher and communist politician. He wrote on political theory, sociology and linguistics. He attempted to break from the economic determinism of traditional Marxist thought and so is considered a key neo-Marxist. He was a founding member and one-time leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.
He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3,000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. His Prison Notebooks are considered a highly original contribution to 20th century political theory. Gramsci drew insights from varying sources – not only other Marxists but also thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli, Vilfredo Pareto, Georges Sorel and Benedetto Croce. The notebooks cover a wide range of topics, including Italian history and nationalism, the French Revolution, fascism, Fordism, civil society, folklore, religion and high and popular culture.
Gramsci is best known for his theory of cultural hegemony, which describes how the state and ruling capitalist class – the bourgeoisie – use cultural institutions to maintain power in capitalist societies. The bourgeoisie, in Gramsci's view, develops a hegemonic culture using ideology rather than violence, economic force, or coercion. Hegemonic culture propagates its own values and norms so that they become the "common sense" values of all and thus maintain the status quo. Hegemonic power is therefore used to maintain consent to the capitalist order, rather than coercive power using force to maintain order. This cultural hegemony is produced and reproduced by the dominant class through the institutions that form the superstructure.
Gramsci in 1916
|Born||22 January 1891|
|Died||27 April 1937 (aged 46)|
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
|Politics, ideology, culture|
|Cultural hegemony, bourgeoisie as the hegemonic group, building a counter-hegemony to challenge capitalist power, war of position, the distinction between "traditional" and "organic" intellectuals|
Gramsci was born in Ales, in the province of Oristano, on the island of Sardinia, the fourth of seven sons of Francesco Gramsci (1860–1937) and Giuseppina Marcias (1861–1932). The senior Gramsci was a low-level official born in the small town of Gaeta, in the province of Latina (in the Central Italian region of Lazio), to a well-off family from the Southern Italian region of Campania and of remote Arbëreshë (Italo-Albanian) descent. Antonio Gramsci himself mistakenly believed his father's family had left Albania as recently as 1821. The Albanian origin of his father's family is attested in the surname Gramsci, an Italianized form of Gramshi, that stems from the definite noun of the placename Gramsh, a small town in central-eastern Albania. The mother of Antonio Gramsci belonged to a Sardinian landowning family from Sorgono (in the province of Nuoro). The senior Gramsci's financial difficulties and troubles with the police forced the family to move about through several villages in Sardinia until they finally settled in Ghilarza.
In 1898, Francesco was convicted of embezzlement and imprisoned, reducing his family to destitution. The young Antonio had to abandon schooling and work at various casual jobs until his father's release in 1904. As a boy, Gramsci suffered from health problems, particularly a malformation of the spine that stunted his growth (his adult height was less than 5 feet) and left him seriously hunchbacked. For decades, it was reported that his condition had been due to a childhood accident—specifically, having been dropped by a nanny—but more recently it has been suggested that it was due to Pott disease, a form of tuberculosis that can cause deformity of the spine. Gramsci was also plagued by various internal disorders throughout his life.
Gramsci completed secondary school in Cagliari, where he lodged with his elder brother Gennaro, a former soldier whose time on the mainland had made him a militant socialist. However, Gramsci's sympathies then did not lie with socialism, but rather with the grievances of impoverished Sardinian peasants and miners. They perceived their neglect as a result of privileges enjoyed by the rapidly industrialising North, and they tended to turn to a growing Sardinian nationalism, brutally repressed by troops from the Italian mainland, as a response.
In 1911, Gramsci won a scholarship to study at the University of Turin, sitting the exam at the same time as Palmiro Togliatti. At Turin, he read literature and took a keen interest in linguistics, which he studied under Matteo Bartoli. Gramsci was in Turin as it was going through industrialization, with the Fiat and Lancia factories recruiting workers from poorer regions. Trade unions became established, and the first industrial social conflicts started to emerge. Gramsci frequented socialist circles as well as associating with Sardinian emigrants on the Italian mainland. His worldview was shaped by both his earlier experiences in Sardinia and his environment on the mainland. Gramsci joined the Italian Socialist Party in late 1913, where he would later occupy a key position and observe from Turin the Russian revolutionary process.
Although showing talent for his studies, Gramsci had financial problems and poor health. Together with his growing political commitment, these led to his abandoning his education in early 1915, at age 24. By this time, he had acquired an extensive knowledge of history and philosophy. At university, he had come into contact with the thought of Antonio Labriola, Rodolfo Mondolfo, Giovanni Gentile, and most importantly, Benedetto Croce, possibly the most widely respected Italian intellectual of his day. Labriola especially propounded a brand of Hegelian Marxism that he labelled "philosophy of praxis". Although Gramsci later used this phrase to escape the prison censors, his relationship with this current of thought was ambiguous throughout his life.
From 1914 onward, Gramsci's writings for socialist newspapers such as Il Grido del Popolo earned him a reputation as a notable journalist. In 1916, he became co-editor of the Piedmont edition of Avanti!, the Socialist Party official organ. An articulate and prolific writer of political theory, Gramsci proved a formidable commentator, writing on all aspects of Turin's social and political life.
Gramsci was, at this time, also involved in the education and organisation of Turin workers; he spoke in public for the first time in 1916 and gave talks on topics such as Romain Rolland, the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, and the emancipation of women. In the wake of the arrest of Socialist Party leaders that followed the revolutionary riots of August 1917, Gramsci became one of Turin's leading socialists when he was both elected to the party's Provisional Committee and made editor of Il Grido del Popolo.
In April 1919, with Togliatti, Angelo Tasca and Umberto Terracini, Gramsci set up the weekly newspaper L'Ordine Nuovo (The New Order). In October the same year, despite being divided into various hostile factions, the Socialist Party moved by a large majority to join the Third International. The L'Ordine Nuovo group was seen by Vladimir Lenin as closest in orientation to the Bolsheviks, and it received his backing against the anti-parliamentary programme of the left communist Amadeo Bordiga.
Among tactical debates within the party, Gramsci's group was mainly distinguished by its advocacy of workers' councils, which had come into existence in Turin spontaneously during the large strikes of 1919 and 1920. For Gramsci, these councils were the proper means of enabling workers to take control of the task of organising production. Although he believed his position at this time to be in keeping with Lenin's policy of "All power to the Soviets", his stance that these Italian councils were communist, rather than just one organ of political struggle against the bourgeoisie, was attacked by Bordiga for betraying a syndicalist tendency influenced by the thought of Georges Sorel and Daniel DeLeon. By the time of the defeat of the Turin workers in spring 1920, Gramsci was almost alone in his defence of the councils.
The failure of the workers' councils to develop into a national movement convinced Gramsci that a Communist Party in the Leninist sense was needed. The group around L'Ordine Nuovo declaimed incessantly against the Italian Socialist Party's centrist leadership and ultimately allied with Bordiga's far larger "abstentionist" faction. On 21 January 1921, in the town of Livorno (Leghorn), the Communist Party of Italy (Partito Comunista d'Italia – PCI) was founded. Gramsci supported against Bordiga the Arditi del Popolo, a militant anti-fascist group which struggled against the Blackshirts.
Gramsci would be a leader of the party from its inception but was subordinate to Bordiga, whose emphasis on discipline, centralism and purity of principles dominated the party's programme until he lost the leadership in 1924.
In 1922, Gramsci travelled to Russia as a representative of the new party. Here, he met Julia Schucht, a young violinist whom he married in 1923 and by whom he had two sons, Delio (born 1924) and Giuliano (born 1926). Gramsci never saw his second son.
The Russian mission coincided with the advent of fascism in Italy, and Gramsci returned with instructions to foster, against the wishes of the PCI leadership, a united front of leftist parties against fascism. Such a front would ideally have had the PCI at its centre, through which Moscow would have controlled all the leftist forces, but others disputed this potential supremacy: socialists did have a certain tradition in Italy, too, while the Communist Party seemed relatively young and too radical. Many believed that an eventual coalition led by communists would have functioned too remotely from political debate, and thus would have run the risk of isolation.
In late 1922 and early 1923, Benito Mussolini's government embarked on a campaign of repression against the opposition parties, arresting most of the PCI leadership, including Bordiga. At the end of 1923, Gramsci travelled from Moscow to Vienna, where he tried to revive a party torn by factional strife.
In 1924 Gramsci, now recognised as head of the PCI, gained election as a deputy for the Veneto. He started organizing the launch of the official newspaper of the party, called L'Unità (Unity), living in Rome while his family stayed in Moscow. At its Lyon Congress in January 1926, Gramsci's theses calling for a united front to restore democracy to Italy were adopted by the party.
In 1926, Joseph Stalin's manoeuvres inside the Bolshevik party moved Gramsci to write a letter to the Comintern in which he deplored the opposition led by Leon Trotsky but also underlined some presumed faults of the leader. Togliatti, in Moscow as a representative of the party, received the letter, opened it, read it, and decided not to deliver it. This caused a difficult conflict between Gramsci and Togliatti which they never completely resolved.
On 9 November 1926, the Fascist government enacted a new wave of emergency laws, taking as a pretext an alleged attempt on Mussolini's life several days earlier. The fascist police arrested Gramsci, despite his parliamentary immunity, and brought him to the Roman prison Regina Coeli.
At his trial, Gramsci's prosecutor stated, "For twenty years we must stop this brain from functioning". He received an immediate sentence of five years in confinement on the island of Ustica and the following year he received a sentence of 20 years' imprisonment in Turi, near Bari.
Over 11 years in prison, his health deteriorated: "His teeth fell out, his digestive system collapsed so that he could not eat solid food... he had convulsions when he vomited blood, and suffered headaches so violent that he beat his head against the walls of his cell."
An international campaign, organised by Piero Sraffa at Cambridge University and Gramsci's sister-in-law Tatiana, was mounted to demand Gramsci's release. In 1933 he was moved from the prison at Turi to a clinic at Formia, but was still being denied adequate medical attention. Two years later he was moved to the Quisisana clinic in Rome. He was due for release on 21 April 1937 and planned to retire to Sardinia for convalescence, but a combination of arteriosclerosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, high blood pressure, angina, gout and acute gastric disorders meant that he was too ill to move. Gramsci died on 27 April 1937, at the age of 46. His ashes are buried in the Cimitero Acattolico (Non-Catholic Cemetery) in Rome.
Gramsci was one of the most important Marxist thinkers of the 20th century, and a particularly key thinker in the development of Western Marxism. He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3,000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. These writings, known as the Prison Notebooks, contain Gramsci's tracing of Italian history and nationalism, as well as some ideas in Marxist theory, critical theory and educational theory associated with his name, such as:
Hegemony was a term previously used by Marxists such as Vladimir Lenin to denote the political leadership of the working-class in a democratic revolution.:15–17 Gramsci greatly expanded this concept, developing an acute analysis of how the ruling capitalist class – the bourgeoisie – establishes and maintains its control.:20
Orthodox Marxism had predicted that socialist revolution was inevitable in capitalist societies. By the early 20th century, no such revolution had occurred in the most advanced nations. Capitalism, it seemed, was more entrenched than ever. Capitalism, Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion, but also through ideology. The bourgeoisie developed a hegemonic culture, which propagated its own values and norms so that they became the "common sense" values of all. People in the working-class (and other classes) identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting.
To counter the notion that bourgeois values represented natural or normal values for society, the working class needed to develop a culture of its own. Lenin held that culture was ancillary to political objectives, but for Gramsci it was fundamental to the attainment of power that cultural hegemony be achieved first. In Gramsci's view, a class cannot dominate in modern conditions by merely advancing its own narrow economic interests; neither can it dominate purely through force and coercion. Rather, it must exert intellectual and moral leadership, and make alliances and compromises with a variety of forces. Gramsci calls this union of social forces a "historic bloc", taking a term from Georges Sorel. This bloc forms the basis of consent to a certain social order, which produces and re-produces the hegemony of the dominant class through a nexus of institutions, social relations, and ideas. In this way, Gramsci's theory emphasized the importance of the political and ideological superstructure in both maintaining and fracturing relations of the economic base.
Gramsci stated that bourgeois cultural values were tied to folklore, popular culture and religion, and therefore much of his analysis of hegemonic culture is aimed at these. He was also impressed by the influence Roman Catholicism had and the care the Church had taken to prevent an excessive gap developing between the religion of the learned and that of the less educated. Gramsci saw Marxism as a marriage of the purely intellectual critique of religion found in Renaissance humanism and the elements of the Reformation that had appealed to the masses. For Gramsci, Marxism could supersede religion only if it met people's spiritual needs, and to do so people would have to think of it as an expression of their own experience.
Gramsci gave much thought to the role of intellectuals in society. He stated that all men are intellectuals, in that all have intellectual and rational faculties, but not all men have the social function of intellectuals. He saw modern intellectuals not as talkers, but as practically-minded directors and organisers who produced hegemony through ideological apparatuses such as education and the media. Furthermore, he distinguished between a traditional intelligentsia which sees itself (wrongly) as a class apart from society, and the thinking groups which every class produces from its own ranks organically. Such organic intellectuals do not simply describe social life in accordance with scientific rules, but instead articulate, through the language of culture, the feelings and experiences which the masses could not express for themselves. To Gramsci, it was the duty of organic intellectuals to speak to the obscured precepts of folk wisdom, or common sense (senso comune), of their respective politic spheres. These intellectuals would represent excluded social groups of a society, what Gramsci referred to as the subaltern.
In line with Gramsci's theories of hegemonic power, he argued that capitalist power needed to be challenged by building a counter-hegemony. By this he meant that, as part of the war of position, the organic intellectuals and others within the working-class, need to develop alternative values and an alternative ideology in contrast to bourgeois ideology. He argued that the reason this had not needed to happen in Russia was because the Russian ruling-class did not have genuine hegemonic power. So the Bolsheviks were able to see through a war of manoeuvre (the 1917 revolution), relatively easily, because ruling-class hegemony had never been fully achieved. He believed that a final war of manoeuvre was only possible, in the developed and advanced capitalist societies, when the war of position had been won by the organic intellectuals and the working-class building a counter-hegemony.
The need to create a working-class culture and a counter-hegemony relates to Gramsci's call for a kind of education that could develop working-class intellectuals, whose task was not to introduce Marxist ideology into the consciousness of the proletariat as a set of foreign notions, but to renovate the existing intellectual activity of the masses and make it natively critical of the status quo. His ideas about an education system for this purpose correspond with the notion of critical pedagogy and popular education as theorized and practised in later decades by Paulo Freire in Brazil, and have much in common with the thought of Frantz Fanon. For this reason, partisans of adult and popular education consider Gramsci an important voice to this day.
Gramsci's theory of hegemony is tied to his conception of the capitalist state. Gramsci does not understand the 'state' in the narrow sense of the government. Instead, he divides it between political society (the police, the army, legal system, etc.) – the arena of political institutions and legal constitutional control – and civil society (the family, the education system, trade unions, etc.) – commonly seen as the private or non-state sphere, mediating between the state and the economy. However, he stresses that the division is purely conceptual and that the two often overlap in reality. Gramsci claims the capitalist state rules through force plus consent: political society is the realm of force and civil society is the realm of consent.
Gramsci proffers that under modern capitalism the bourgeoisie can maintain its economic control by allowing certain demands made by trade unions and mass political parties within civil society to be met by the political sphere. Thus, the bourgeoisie engages in passive revolution by going beyond its immediate economic interests and allowing the forms of its hegemony to change. Gramsci posits that movements such as reformism and fascism, as well as the scientific management and assembly line methods of Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford, respectively, are examples of this.
Drawing from Machiavelli, he argues that The Modern Prince – the revolutionary party – is the force that will allow the working-class to develop organic intellectuals and an alternative hegemony within civil society. For Gramsci, the complex nature of modern civil society means that a war of position, carried out by revolutionaries through political agitation, the trade unions, advancement of proletarian culture, and other ways to create an opposing civil society was necessary alongside a war of manoeuvre – a direct revolution – in order to have a successful revolution without danger of a counter-revolution or degeneration.
Despite his claim that the lines between the two may be blurred, Gramsci rejects the state-worship that results from identifying political society with civil society, as was done by the Jacobins and Fascists. He believes the proletariat's historical task is to create a regulated society and defines the withering away of the state as the full development of civil society's ability to regulate itself.
Like the early Marx, Gramsci was an emphatic proponent of historicism. In Gramsci's view, all meaning derives from the relation between human practical activity (or praxis) and the objective historical and social processes of which it is a part. Ideas cannot be understood outside their social and historical context, apart from their function and origin. The concepts by which we organise our knowledge of the world do not derive primarily from our relation to things (to an objective reality), but rather from the social relations (economic, for Marx) between the bearers of those concepts. As a result, there is no such thing as an unchanging human nature. Furthermore, philosophy and science do not reflect a reality independent of man. Rather, a theory can be said to be true when, in any given historical situation, it expresses the real developmental trend of that situation.
For the majority of Marxists, truth was truth no matter when and where it is known, and scientific knowledge (which included Marxism) accumulated historically as the advance of truth in this everyday sense. In this view, Marxism (or the Marxist theory of history and economics) did not belong to the illusory realm of the superstructure because it is a science. In contrast, Gramsci believed Marxism was true in a socially pragmatic sense: by articulating the class consciousness of the proletariat, Marxism expressed the truth of its times better than any other theory. This anti-scientistic and anti-positivist stance was indebted to the influence of Benedetto Croce. However, it should be underlined that Gramsci's absolute historicism broke with Croce's tendency to secure a metaphysical synthesis in historical destiny. Although Gramsci repudiates the charge, his historical account of truth has been criticised as a form of relativism.
In a pre-prison article entitled "The Revolution against Das Kapital", Gramsci wrote that the October Revolution in Russia had invalidated the idea that socialist revolution had to await the full development of capitalist forces of production. This reflected his view that Marxism was not a determinist philosophy. The principle of the causal primacy of the forces of production was a misconception of Marxism. Both economic changes and cultural changes are expressions of a basic historical process, and it is difficult to say which sphere has primacy over the other. The belief from the earliest years of the workers' movement that it would inevitably triumph due to historical laws was a product of the historical circumstances of an oppressed class restricted mainly to defensive action. This fatalistic doctrine was to be abandoned as a hindrance once the working-class became able to take the initiative. Because Marxism is a philosophy of praxis, it cannot rely on unseen historical laws as the agents of social change. History is defined by human praxis and therefore includes human will. Nonetheless, will-power cannot achieve anything it likes in any given situation: when the consciousness of the working-class reaches the stage of development necessary for action, it will encounter historical circumstances that cannot be arbitrarily altered. However, it is not predetermined by historical inevitability or destiny as to which of several possible developments will take place as a result.
His critique of economism also extended to that practised by the syndicalists of the Italian trade unions. He believed that many trade unionists had settled for a reformist, gradualist approach in that they had refused to struggle on the political front in addition to the economic front. For Gramsci, much as the ruling class can look beyond its own immediate economic interests to reorganise the forms of its own hegemony, so must the working-class present its own interests as congruous with the universal advancement of society. While Gramsci envisioned the trade unions as one organ of a counter-hegemonic force in capitalist society, the trade union leaders simply saw these organizations as a means to improve conditions within the existing structure. Gramsci referred to the views of these trade unionists as vulgar economism, which he equated to covert reformism and even liberalism.
By virtue of his belief that human history and collective praxis determine whether any philosophical question is meaningful or not, Gramsci's views run contrary to the metaphysical materialism and "copy" theory of perception advanced by Engels, and Lenin, though he does not explicitly state this. For Gramsci, Marxism does not deal with a reality that exists in and for itself, independent of humanity. The concept of an objective universe outside of human history and human praxis was analogous to belief in God. Gramsci defined objectivity in terms of a universal intersubjectivity to be established in a future communist society. Natural history was thus only meaningful in relation to human history. In his view philosophical materialism resulted from a lack of critical thought, and could not be said to oppose religious dogma and superstition. Despite this, Gramsci resigned himself to the existence of this arguably cruder form of Marxism. Marxism was a philosophy for the proletariat, a subaltern class, and thus could often only be expressed in the form of popular superstition and common sense. Nonetheless, it was necessary to effectively challenge the ideologies of the educated classes, and to do so Marxists must present their philosophy in a more sophisticated guise, and attempt to genuinely understand their opponents' views.
Gramsci's thought emanates from the organized left, but he has also become an important figure in current academic discussions within cultural studies and critical theory. Political theorists from the center and the right have also found insight in his concepts; his idea of hegemony, for example, has become widely cited. His influence is particularly strong in contemporary political science (see Neo-gramscianism). His work also heavily influenced intellectual discourse on popular culture and scholarly popular culture studies in which many have found the potential for political or ideological resistance to dominant government and business interests.
His critics charge him with fostering a notion of power struggle through ideas. They find the Gramscian approach to philosophical analysis, reflected in current academic controversies, to be in conflict with open-ended, liberal inquiry grounded in apolitical readings of the classics of Western culture.
As a socialist, Gramsci's legacy has been disputed.:6–7 Togliatti, who led the Party (renamed as Italian Communist Party, PCI) after World War II and whose gradualist approach was a forerunner to Eurocommunism, claimed that the PCI's practices during this period were congruent with Gramscian thought. It is speculated that he would likely have been expelled from his Party if his true views had been known, particularly his growing hostility to Stalin.
In political philosophy, particularly Frankfurt School critical theory, advanced capitalism is the situation that pertains in a society in which the capitalist model has been integrated and developed deeply and extensively and for a prolonged period. The expression advanced capitalism distinguishes such societies from the historical previous forms of capitalism, mercantilism and industrial capitalism, and partially overlaps with the concepts of a developed country; of the post-industrial age; of finance capitalism; of post-Fordism; of the spectacular society; of media culture; and of "developed", "modern", and "complex" capitalism.
Various writers identify Antonio Gramsci as an influential early theorist of advanced capitalism, even if he did not use the term himself. In his writings Gramsci sought to explain how capitalism had adapted to avoid the revolutionary overthrow that had seemed inevitable in the 19th century. At the heart of his explanation was the decline of raw coercion as a tool of class power, replaced by use of civil society institutions to manipulate public ideology in the capitalists' favor.Jürgen Habermas has been a major contributor to the analysis of advanced-capitalistic societies. Habermas observed four general features that characterize advanced capitalism:
Concentration of industrial activity in a few large firms
Constant reliance on the state to stabilize the economic system
A formally democratic government that legitimizes the activities of the state and dissipates opposition to the system
The use of nominal wage increases to pacify the most restless segments of the work forceAntonio Gramsci Battalion
The Antonio Gramsci Battalion was formed on 9 November 1943 from captured Italian soldiers who wished to continue the war by resisting Nazi German forces in Albania. In the beginning its forces amounted to 137 men who chose their own leaders: Terzilio Cardinali (commander), Alfredo d'Angelo (political commisar), Giuseppe Monti (vice commander) and Dominico Bogatai (vice comisar). One Albanian partisan, Sami Kotherja, was also appointed to battalion command. The battalion was composed of two companies.Their first battle against the Germans took place on 15 of November 1943 in Berat. After the capitulation of Italy the city of Berat was under the control of the Albanian partisans. Italian forces were not familiar with partisan tactics and while German forces attacked the city, the battalion forces remained static in their positions giving the Germans the opportunity to encircle them. After five hours of fierce fighting, they managed to break through German lines with great losses. The Germans executed the wounded and the prisoners they had captured from the battalion.
After this battle, the effectives were filled with other Italians who wanted to fight against Germans. During 1943-1944, the Antonio Gramsci Battalion remained an integral part of Partisan First Shock Brigade, which was considered a corps d'elite of the partisan army. It participated in all of the major battles that this partisan army was involved in. Its commander, Terzilio Cardinali, was killed in action on July 8, 1944, during fighting in the Diber region. The battalion took also part in the operations for the liberation of Tirana in November 1944.
After the liberation of Albania, the battalion was elevated to the rank of a brigade, composed from other Italian fighters who were dispersed in other partisan units. Later on it was elevated in the rank of the division with the same name. In May 1945, in mutual agreement with the Italian government, its forces were repatriated to Italy with a military honor ceremony.Articulation (sociology)
In sociology, articulation labels the process by which particular classes appropriate cultural forms and practices for their own use. The term appears to have originated from the work of Antonio Gramsci, specifically from his conception of superstructure. Chantal Mouffe, Stuart Hall, and others have adopted or used it.Articulation (expression) theorizes the relationship between components of social formation or relationship between cultural and political economy. In this theory, cultural forms and practices (Antonio Gramsci's superstructure and Richard Middleton's instance or level of practice) have relative autonomy; socio-economic structures of power do not determine them, but rather they relate to them. "The theory of articulation recognizes the complexity of cultural fields. It preserves a relative autonomy for cultural and ideological elements ... but also insists that those combinatory patterns that are actually constructed do mediate deep, objective patterns in the socio-economic formation, and that the mediation takes place in struggle: the classes fight to articulate together constituents of the cultural repe[r]toire in particular ways so that they are organized in terms of principles or sets of values determined by the position and interests of the class in the prevailing mode of production."This is because "the relationship between actual culture...on the one hand, and economically determined factors such as class position, on the other, is always problematical, incomplete, and the object of ideological work and struggle. ... Cultural relationships and cultural change are thus not predetermined; rather they are the product of negotiation, imposition, resistance, transformation, and so on....Thus particular cultural forms and practices cannot be attached mechanically or even paradigmatically to particular classes; nor, even, can particular interpretations, valuations, and uses of a single form or practice. In Stuart Hall's words (1981: 238), 'there are no wholly separate "cultures"...attached, in a relation of historical fixity, to specific "whole" classes'. However, "while elements of culture are not directly, eternally, or exclusively tied to specific economically determined factors such as class position, they are determined in the final instance by such factors, through the operation of articulating principles which are tied to class position".Articulating principles "operate by combining existing elements into new patterns or by attaching new connotations to them". Examples of these processes in musical culture include the re-use of elements of bourgeois marches in labor anthems or the assimilation of liberated (in the Marcusian sense) countercultural 1960s rock into a tradition of bourgeois bohemianism and the combination of elements of black and white working-class music with elements of art music that created countercultural 1960s rock.Some scholars may prefer the theory of articulation, where "class does not coincide with the sign community", to the theory of homology, where class does coincide with the sign community and where economic forces determine the superstructure. However, "it seems likely that some signifying structures are more easily articulated to the interests of one group than are some others" and cross-connotation, "when two or more different elements are made to connote, symbolize, or evoke each other", can set up "particularly strong articulative relationships". For example: Elvis Presley's linking of elements of "youth rebellion, working-class 'earthiness', and ethnic 'roots', each of which can evoke the others, all of which were articulated together, however briefly, by a moment of popular self-assertion".Base and superstructure
In Marxist theory, capitalist society consists of two parts: the base (or substructure) and superstructure. The base comprises the forces and relations of production (e.g. employer–employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations) into which people enter to produce the necessities and amenities of life. The base determines society's other relationships and ideas to comprise its superstructure, including its culture, institutions, political power structures, roles, rituals, and state. While the relation of the two parts is not strictly unidirectional, as the superstructure often affects the base, the influence of the base is predominant. Marx and Engels warned against such economic determinism.Communist Party of Italy
The Communist Party of Italy (Italian: Partito Comunista d'Italia, PCd'I) was a communist political party in Italy which existed from 1921 to 1926 when it was outlawed by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.
In 1943, the party was refounded and the name was changed to the Italian Communist Party (Italian: Partito Comunista Italiano, PCI) after the fall of Fascism.Cultural hegemony
In Marxist philosophy, cultural hegemony is the domination of a culturally diverse society by the ruling class who manipulate the culture of that society—the beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values, and mores—so that their imposed, ruling-class worldview becomes the accepted cultural norm; the universally valid dominant ideology, which justifies the social, political, and economic status quo as natural and inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class.In philosophy and in sociology, the term cultural hegemony has denotations and connotations derived from the Ancient Greek word ἡγεμονία (hegemonia) indicating leadership and rule. In politics, hegemony is the geopolitical method of indirect imperial dominance, with which the hegemon (leader state) rules subordinate states by the threat of intervention, an implied means of power, often soft power, rather than by direct military force, that is, invasion, occupation, and annexation.Ghilarza
Ghilarza (Sardinian: Ilàrtzi) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Oristano in the Italian region Sardinia, located about 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Cagliari and about 30 kilometres (19 mi) northeast of Oristano.
Antonio Gramsci, political philosopher and founder of the Italian Communist Party, lived with his family in Ghilarza from about 1897 to 1908.
The town's sights include the 13th century Romanesque church of San Palmerio, in white-black trachite, and the 15th century Aragonese Tower.Gramsci Is Dead
Gramsci Is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements is a book by Richard J. F. Day about whether social movements should pursue cultural hegemony.Italian Communist Party
The Italian Communist Party (Italian: Partito Comunista Italiano, PCI) was a communist political party in Italy.
The PCI was founded as Communist Party of Italy on 21 January 1921 in Livorno by seceding from the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). Amadeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci led the split. Outlawed during the Fascist regime, the party played a major role in the Italian resistance movement. It changed its name in 1943 to PCI and became the second largest political party of Italy after World War II, attracting the support of about a third of the vote share during the 1970s. At the time, it was the largest communist party in the West, with peak support reaching 2.3 million members, in 1947, and peak share being 34.4% of the vote, in 1976.
In 1991, as it had travelled from doctrinaire communism to democratic socialism by the 1970s or the 1980s, the PCI evolved into the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), which joined the Socialist International and the Party of European Socialists. The more radical members of the organization formally departed to constitute the new Communist Refoundation Party (PRC).L'Ordine Nuovo
L'Ordine Nuovo (Italian for "The New Order") was a weekly newspaper established on May 1, 1919, in Turin, Italy, by a group, including Antonio Gramsci, Angelo Tasca and Palmiro Togliatti, within the Italian Socialist Party. The paper was the successor of La Città futura, a broadsheet newspaper. The founders of L'Ordine Nuovo were admirers of the Russian Revolution and strongly supported the immediate creation of soviets in Italy. They believed that existing factory councils of workers could be strengthened so that they could become the basis of a communist revolution. However, Amadeo Bordiga, who would become the founder of the Communist Party of Italy, criticised the plan as syndicalism, saying that soviets should only be created after Italy had come under communist control.Initially the newspaper, which was founded with union backing, focused on cultural politics, but in June 1919, the month following its founding, Gramsci and Togliatti pushed Tasca out and re-focused as a revolutionary voice. The newspaper reached a circulation of 6,000 by the end of the year and its reputation was heightened by its support of the April 1920 general strike, which the Socialist Party and the affiliated General Confederation of Labour did not support. On 1 January 1921 the paper began to be published on a daily basis. In January 1921, Bordiga and the supporters of L'Ordine Nuovo left the Socialist Party in order to establish the new Communist Party of Italy. The paper went defunct in 1922, to resume in March 1924 by publishing intermittently the last eight numbers until March 1925.L'Unità
l'Unità (Italian pronunciation: [luniˈta], lit. 'the Unity') was an Italian newspaper, founded as official newspaper of the Italian Communist Party. Once left-wing, it has been supportive of that party's successor parties, the Democratic Party of the Left, Democrats of the Left and from October 2007 until its closure the Democratic Party. The newspaper closed on 31 July 2014. It was restarted on 30 June 2015, but it ceased again on 3 June 2017.List of Secretaries of the Italian Communist Party
This is a list of national secretaries of the Italian Communist Party. Until 1926 though the office of secretary did not exist. Amadeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci were members of the Executive Committee and Central Committee in the Communist Party of Italy (PCd'I).Neo-Gramscianism
Neo-Gramscianism applies a critical theory approach to the study of international relations (IR) and the global political economy (GPE) that explores the interface of ideas, institutions and material capabilities as they shape the specific contours of the state formation. The theory is heavily influenced by the writings of Antonio Gramsci.Neo-Gramscianism analyzes how the particular constellation of social forces, the state and the dominant ideational configuration define and sustain world orders. In this sense, the neo-Gramscian approach breaks the decades-old stalemate between the realist schools of thought and the liberal theories by historicizing the very theoretical foundations of the two streams as part of a particular world order and finding the interlocking relationship between agency and structure. Furthermore, Karl Polanyi, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Niccolò Machiavelli, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno and Michel Foucault are cited as major sources within the critical theory of IR.Passive revolution
Passive revolution is a term coined by Italian politician and philosopher Antonio Gramsci during the interwar period in Italy. Gramsci coined the term to refer to a significant change that is not a rupturous one, but a slow and gradual metamorphosis which could take years or generations to accomplish.Gramsci uses "passive revolution" in a variety of contexts with slightly different meanings. The primary usage is to contrast the passive transformation of bourgeois society in 19th-century Italy with the active revolutionary process of the bourgeoisie in France. However, Gramsci also associates Italian fascism with the notion of passive revolution.
Passive revolution is a transformation of the political and institutional structures without strong social processes. Gramsci also uses the term for the mutations of the structures of capitalist economic production that he recognizes primarily in the development of the United States factory system of the 1920s and 1930s. Besides this usage of the term, "passive revolution" as a descriptive tool of historical analysis, Gramsci seems to employ it like a suggestion as path for struggle. In a society subsumed within capital, the only way Gramsci can see to make a revolution is a relatively "passive" one through the institutions of civil society.Prison Notebooks
The Prison Notebooks (Italian: Quaderni del carcere [kwaˈdɛrni del ˈkartʃere]) were a series of essays written by the Italian neo-Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci was imprisoned by the Italian Fascist regime in 1926. The notebooks were written between 1929 and 1935, when Gramsci was released from prison on grounds of ill-health. He died in April 1937.
He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3,000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. Although written unsystematically, the Prison Notebooks are considered a highly original contribution to 20th century political theory. Gramsci drew insights from varying sources - not only other Marxists but also thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli, Vilfredo Pareto, Georges Sorel and Benedetto Croce. His notebooks cover a wide range of topics, including Italian history and nationalism, the French Revolution, Fascism, Fordism, civil society, folklore, religion and high and popular culture.
The notebooks were smuggled out of prison in the 1930s. They were not published until the 1950s and were first translated into English in the 1970s, by the Scottish poet and folklorist Hamish Henderson.
Some ideas in Marxist theory, critical theory and educational theory that are associated with Gramsci's name:
Cultural hegemony as a means of maintaining the capitalist state.
The need for popular workers' education to encourage development of intellectuals from the working class.
The distinction between political society (the police, the army, legal system, etc.) which dominates directly and coercively, and civil society (the family, the education system, trade unions, etc.) where leadership is constituted through ideology or by means of consent.
A critique of economic determinism that opposes fatalistic interpretations of Marxism.
A critique of philosophical materialism.Subaltern (postcolonialism)
In post-colonial studies and in critical theory, the term subaltern designates the colonial populations who are socially, politically, and geographically outside the hierarchy of power of a colony, and of the empire's metropolitan homeland. In describing cultural hegemony as popular history, Antonio Gramsci coined the term subaltern to identify the social groups excluded and displaced from the socio-economic institutions of society in order to deny their political voices. The terms subaltern and subaltern studies entered the vocabulary of post-colonialism through the works of the Subaltern Studies Group of historians who explored the political-actor role of the men and women who constitute the mass population, rather than re-explore the political-actor roles of the social and economic elites in the history of India. As a method of investigation and analysis of the political role of subaltern populations, Marx's theory of history presents colonial history from the perspective of the proletariat; that the who and what of social class are determined through the economic relations among the social classes of a society. Since the 1970s, the term subaltern denoted the colonized peoples of the Indian subcontinent, imperial history told from below, from the perspective of the colonised peoples, rather than from the perspective of the colonisers from Western Europe; by the 1980s, the Subaltern Studies method of historical enquiry was applied to South Asian historiography. As a method of intellectual discourse, the concept of the subaltern originated as a Eurocentric method of historical enquiry for the study of non-Western peoples (of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East) and their relation to Western Europe as the centre of world history, thus subaltern studies became the model for historical research of the subaltern's experience of colonialism in the Indian Subcontinent.Turi, Apulia
Turi (Turese: Ture [ˈtuːrə]; Ancient Greek: Θυριαι, romanized: Thuriai) is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Bari and region of Apulia, southern Italy. With a population approaching 12,000, it lies a few miles inland from the town of Polignano A Mare on the Adriatic Sea.
The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime for eleven years (1926-1937), served most of his sentence in Turi, and died shortly after he was released.Western Marxism
Western Marxism is a current of Marxist theory arising from Western and Central Europe in the aftermath of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the ascent of Leninism. The term denotes a loose collection of theorists who advanced an interpretation of Marxism distinct from that codified by the Soviet Union.The Western Marxists placed more emphasis on Marxism's philosophical and sociological aspects, and its origins in the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (for which reason it is sometimes called Hegelian Marxism) and what they called "Young Marx" (i.e. the more humanistic early works of Marx). Although some early figures such as György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci had been prominent in political activities, Western Marxism became primarily the reserve of the academia especially after World War II. Prominent figures included Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.
Since the 1960s, the concept has been closely associated with the New Left. While many of the Western Marxists were adherents of Marxist humanism, the term also encompasses their critics in the form of the structural Marxism of Louis Althusser.
Recipients of the Viareggio Prize
Luisa Adorno – Cesare Viviani – Maurizio Calvesi (1990) • Antonio Debenedetti (1991) • Luigi Malerba (1992) • Alessandro Baricco (1993) • Antonio Tabucchi (1994) • Maurizio Maggiani – Elio Pagliarani (1995) • Ermanno Rea – Alda Merini (1996) • Claudio Piersanti – Franca Grisoni – Corrado Stajano (1997) • Giorgio Pressburger – Michele Sovente – Carlo Ginzburg (1998) • Ernesto Franco (1999)
Giorgio van Straten – Sandro Veronesi (2000) • Niccolò Ammaniti – Michele Ranchetti – Giorgio Pestelli (2001) • Fleur Jaeggy – Jolanda Insana – Alfonso Berardinelli (2002) • Giuseppe Montesano (2003) • Edoardo Albinati – Andrea Tagliapietra – Livia Livi (2004) • Raffaele La Capria – Alberto Arbasino – Milo de Angelis (2005) • Gianni Celati – Giovanni Agosti – Giuseppe Conte – Roberto Saviano (2006) • Filippo Tuena – Paolo Mauri – Silvia Bre – Simona Baldanzi – Paolo Colagrande – Paolo Fallai (2007) • Francesca Sanvitale – Miguel Gotor – Eugenio De Signoribus (2008) • Edith Bruck – Adriano Prosperi – Ennio Cavalli (2009)
Nicola Lagioia – Michele Emmer – Pierluigi Cappello (2010) • Alessandro Mari – Mario Lavagetto – Gian Mario Villalta (2011) • Nicola Gardini – Franco Lo Piparo – Antonella Anedda (2012) • Paolo Di Stefano – Giulio Guidorizzi – Enrico Testa (2013) • Francesco Pecoraro – Alessandro Fo – Luciano Mecacci (2014) • Antonio Scurati – Massimo Bucciantini – Franco Buffoni (2015) • Franco Cordelli – Bruno Pischedda – Sonia Gentili (2016) • Gianfranco Calligarich – Giuseppe Montesano – Stefano Carrai (2017)