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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Gramsci’s Political Thought and the Contemporary Crisis of Politics

Loris Caruso

In the context of the worsening economic crisis analogies tend to be drawn between the economic and political crisis in Europe of the 1920s and 1930s and the current situation. Now as then, it is argued, there is the risk that a systemic economic crisis and the crisis of representative politics will in turn lead to authoritarian outcomes. Rarer, however, is the idea that the current political and economic crisis may lead to a ‘‘progressive’’ outcome. This article examines both options under the light of the thinking of one of the most important interpreters of political crisis and change in the 1920s and 1930s: Antonio Gramsci.

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2016

In the context of the worsening economic crisis analogies tend to be drawn between the economic and political crisis in Europe of the 1920s and 1930s and the current situation. Now as then, it is argued, there is the risk that a systemic economic crisis and the crisis of representative politics will in turn lead to authoritarian outcomes. Rarer, however, is the idea that the current political and economic crisis may lead to a ‘‘progressive’’ outcome.

This article examines both options under the light of the thinking of one of the most important interpreters of political crisis and change in the 1920s and 1930s: Antonio Gramsci. One of the central arguments in Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks is the crisis of parliamentarism and democratic politics. Gramsci did not limit his analysis to the crisis however. His theoretical undertaking also consisted in the attempt to imagine the conditions for moving beyond the democratic crisis in a progressive manner. What emerges is an existing continuity between the Gramscian categories of Cesarism-Bonapartism, economic-corporative State, hegemonic crisis and contemporary politics, particularly with reference to phenomena such as populism, technocracy and neoliberalism; the utility of the conceptual category of Passive Revolution to comprehend the current forms of exerting power and building social consent; the potential fruitfulness of Gramsci’s schemata on counter-hegemonies, to understand the changes in the party-organization and the possibilities of building counter-hegemonies.

Loris Caruso, 2016, "Gramsci’s Political Thought and the Contemporary Crisis of Politics". Thesis Eleven. Critical theory and historical sociology, Vol. 136 (1)

http://the.sagepub.com/content/136/1.toc

News

25/08/2017

Donatella Della Porta con Yanis Varoufakis alla 13esima conferenza ESA

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Wednesday, August 30th (8pm-9.30pm) professor della Porta, who directs the Center on Social Movement Studies(Cosmos), will dialogue with Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Minister of Finance during the first Tsipras government, about the future of Europe and the social consequences of neoliberal economies

08/06/2017

Call for Papers - Cosmos Conference "The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism"

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The Centre on Social Movement Studies, directed by Professor Donatella Della Porta, calls for papers addressing the recent global wave of student protests for a two-days conference to bel held in Florence, at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), on 15-16 November 2017.

19/05/2017

Video available for the International Conference – Beyond Borders: Refugees and Struggles in Europe Mobilization, Solidarity and Political Challenges in the Long Summer of Migration

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Watch the video of the International Conference – Beyond Borders, which was held at Palazzo Strozzi on May 12, 2017

Publications

Monograph - 2018

Social Movements and Civil War : When Protests for Democratization Fail

Donatella della Porta, Teije Hidde Donker , Bogumila Hall , Emin Poljarevic
This book investigates the origins of civil wars which emerge from failed attempts at democratization. The main aim of this volume is to develop a theoretical explanation of the conditions under which and the mechanisms through which social movements' struggles for democracy ends up in civil war.

Journal Article - 2017

Successful student activism in contemporary Italian universities

Lorenzo Cini
This article assesses the strategies that the Italian student activists adopted in order to influence the revision process of the governance structure of their universities in 2011