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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

10/11/2017

Call for Application Now Open: Summer School on Youth Political Participation in Times of Inequalities

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We are pleased to announce that the call for applications is now open for the Summer School on Youth Political Participation in Times of Inequalities, sponsored by the Reinventing Democracy in Europe: Youth Doing Politics in Times of Increasing Inequalities project (EURYKA) and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS).

26/10/2017

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During the plenary session, Donatella della Porta and Yanis Varoufakis spoke about the future of Europe and the social consequences of neoliberal economies.

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Publications

Journal Article - 2017

Digital Capitalism and the End of Politics: The Case of the Italian Five Star Movement

Loris Caruso
This article investigates the political and cultural nature of the Movimento Cinque Stelle (Five Star Movement, M5S) by (1) analyzing its discourse on democracy, its organizational choices and its main issues; (2) comparing these elements with populism and the left; and (3) linking its fundamental characteristics to contemporary economic processes usually termed “digital capitalism.”

Journal Article - 2017

Framing exclusion in the public sphere: Far-right mobilization and the debate on Charlie Hebdo in Italy

Pietro Castelli Gattinara
While the January 2015 Paris terrorist attacks presented a crucial opportunity for far-right mobilisation, the focus on liberal democratic values and Charlie Hebdo’s non-conformist progressive profile presented challenges for right-wing discourse. Taking Italy as a paradigmatic case of public controversies on cultural and religious affairs, this article examines the opportunities and constraints generated by multicultural crises for far-right framing choices.