Antonio Gramsci

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Slides on the writings of Antonio Gramsci for an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.

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  • Learning Objectives: 1.) To become acquainted with Gramsci’s brand of Marxism. 2.) To understand Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and its implications in terms of assessing democratic states.
  • Antonio Gramsci

    1. 1. ANTONIO GRAMSCI
    2. 2. OVERVIEW <ul><li>Who was Antonio Gramsci? </li></ul><ul><li>In what way was he a Marxist? </li></ul><ul><li>What was Gramsci’s notion of the state and hegemony? </li></ul><ul><li>In what way was Gramsci’s ideas a critique of democracy? </li></ul>
    3. 3. A. gramsci (1891-1937) <ul><li>Italian of working-class background </li></ul><ul><li>Political career began as a journalist for the Italian Socialist Party </li></ul><ul><li>Founding member (and later head) of the Italian Communist Party </li></ul><ul><li>Imprisoned for his opposition to Mussolini </li></ul>
    4. 4. gramsci’s marxisM <ul><li>Gramsci dwells on many elements of Marx’s thinking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialectical Materialism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Class Struggle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Substructure and Superstructure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>He built on Marxist thought by emphasizing the role of the state and society in the dialectical process </li></ul>
    5. 5. the state <ul><li>Economic forces of production (substructure) affect the development of the state </li></ul><ul><li>However, as the superstructure the state does not develop spontaneously nor haphazardly </li></ul><ul><li>The state is an ethical agent in the shaping of society according to the needs of productive forces </li></ul>
    6. 6. hegemony <ul><li>The state educates the citizenry to obtain the consent of the governed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This maintains the dominance of the ruling class </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This is achieved through persuasion and the intellectual influence of dominant political associations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Syndicates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political parties </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. POLITICAL SOCIETY civiL SOCIETY <ul><li>Coercive apparatus of the state </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance of dominance by force </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate to the economic substructure </li></ul><ul><li>Hegemony of dominant social groups </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance of dominance by persuasion </li></ul><ul><li>Private political associations </li></ul>
    8. 8. social Development <ul><li>The development of societies is contingent on the development of consciousness and ideology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consciousness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identification with a particular class </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expression of a particular world view </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The projection of a particular class interest </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. STAGES <ul><li>Social forces result in the creation of economic classes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialectical materialism in action </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The degree of homogeneity and self awareness of each social class increases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of class consciousness </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. stages <ul><li>The dominant group develops its own ideology and establishes its hegemony over society </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dominance in civil society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture of the state mechanism </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When hegemony weakens, coercive force is necessary to maintain societal control </li></ul>
    11. 11. the critique <ul><li>Democracy, as the form of rule of the bourgeois, is based on bourgeois hegemony </li></ul><ul><li>Capitalism will not collapse on its own unless the proletariat develops its own consciousness and ideology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In this manner, the proletariat can achieve its own hegemony </li></ul></ul>

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