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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

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05/03/2019

A dialogue on labour, trade unions and conflicts

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Call for Papers - Social Movements and Parties in a Fractured Media Landscape

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The call for papers is now open for a two-day symposium held under the auspices of the journal ‘Information, Communication & Society’ (iCS) at the Centre on Social Movement Studies, 1-2 July 2019.

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17 Fully funded 4-years PhD positions in Political Science and Sociology and in Transnational Governance, Scuola Normale Superiore

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The grant is for 4 years. It is open to students of all nationalities. Coverage of research expenses (conferences, summer schools, research periods abroads) is provided.

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