Gramsci and Educational Thought

Gramsci and Educational Thought

Gramsci and Educational Thought

Gramsci and Educational Thought


Through a series of writings from international scholars, Gramsci and Educational Thought pays tribute to the educational influence of Antonio Gramsci, considered one of the greatest social thinkers and political theorists of the 20th century.
  • Represents sound social theory and a broad application and reinvention of Gramsci's ideas
  • Covers important areas such as language and education, community education, and social work education
  • Features perspectives from different geographical contexts


As the editor of this book Peter Mayo has provided an appropriate context in which to view the excellent contributions to this monograph in the year of Gramsci’s anniversary. I remember inviting Peter to edit the original special issue of Educational Philosophy and Theory when I visited Malta for the International Network of Philosophers of Education Conference in 2006 ( As Editor I was pleased to be able to offer Peter the opportunity to display the best of Gramsci’s scholarship in the field of education and also to meet with him and his colleagues at the University of Malta, including Kenneth Wain, Carmel Borg and others.

Peter Mayo rightly emphasizes that Gramsci’s prison writings constitute an educational project based on the valuable concept of hegemony that Gramsci develops as an essential part of the sociology of capitalist society enabling an understanding of the manufacture of consent by the powerful through the institution of cultural values. I have nothing to add to what the contributors have made clear in their individual chapters and applaud the new scholarship on Gramsci’s educational project—its origins, its enactment in the context of the party, its applications to ‘global English’ and women’s ‘ways of knowing, its contribution to the envisioning of the project of socialist education in Brazil.

Gramsci’s analysis of Fordism and education in the age of Fordism has a new relevance with the global recession, the neoliberal meltdown and end of the ideology of automobilism. in 1934 in insightful notes in the Prison Notebooks Antonio Gramsci defined ‘Americanism’ as ‘mechanicist’, crude, brutal—’pure action’ in other words—and contrasted it with tradition. He attempted to demonstrate how Fordism was destructive of trade unions leading to a crisis in high wages, hegemonic at the point of production and the production of new Taylorized workers. Fordist production entailing an intensified industrial division of labor, assembly line flow of work with increasingly specified tasks by management, increased the potential for capitalist control over the pace and intensity of work and led to the displacement of craft-based production in which skilled laborers exercised substantial control over their conditions of work.

Now arguably, the time has come again to analyze, understand and enact a new politics that has come to characterize late capitalism and the new subjectivities demanded by post-fordist regimes that are conducive to an emerging globally integrated capitalism and which increasingly rest on aspects traditionally considered central to education—knowledge, learning, research, collaboration, and collegial peer review. Gramsci brilliantly details the social and educational subjects that were so essential in the first phrase of Fordism and today Gramsci’s challenge to educational thinkers is to analyze and determine the contours of the educational subject . . .

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