Gramsci's Political Thought: An Introduction

Gramsci's Political Thought: An Introduction

Gramsci's Political Thought: An Introduction

Gramsci's Political Thought: An Introduction

Synopsis

A lucid, easily comprehensible account of Gramsci's ideas and their relevance to modern society, this guide details the notions of hegemony, civil society, ideology and national popular.

Excerpt

Gramsci's influence on people like me, who first read him, in translation, in the early 1960s, has been profound. Our interest in Gramsci was not scholastic. We approached Gramsci for ourselves in our own way. Reading Gramsci has fertilised our political imagination, transformed our way of thinking, our style of thought, our whole political project.

Certainly, 'appropriating Gramsci' has never licensed us to read him any way that suits us, uncontrolled by a respect for the distinctive grain and formation of his thought. Our 'reading' is neither wilful nor arbitrary – precisely because that would be contrary to the very lessons we learned from him. It is, after all, Gramsci himself who first taught us how to 'read Gramsci'. He re-tuned our intellectual ear to the historically specific and distinct register in which his concepts operate. It is from Gramsci that we learned to understand – and practise – the discipline imposed by an unswerving attention to die 'peculiarities' and unevenness of national-cultural development. It is Gramsci's example which cautions us against the too-easy transfer of historical generalisations from one society or epoch to another, in the name of 'Theory'.

If I were to try to summarise, in a sentence, what Gramsci did for people of my generation, I would have to say something like . . .

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