ANTONIO GRAMSCI’s CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIALISM AND MARXISM
By Michelle Ngele
Imprisonment did not prevent Gramsci from thinking and writing, although his jailors tried their best to stop him. His writings occur in two periods; pre-prison (1910-1926) and prison (1929-1935). His pre-prison writings tend to be politically specific, while his prison writings tend to be more historical and theoretical. In prison he completed 32 notebooks containing almost 3,000 pages. It is in his prison writings that he wrote about theoretical political ideologies. He filed thoughts that made him one of the most outstanding figures of Marxist thought in the 20th century. By the 1950s, with increasing frequency and intensity, his prison writings attracted interest and critical commentary in a host of countries, both the west and Third world countries. He is most popular for his concept of cultural hegemony, which describes how states use cultural institutions to maintain power in capitalist societies, (Morton, 2003). This paper analyses Gramsci's concepts of the historical bloc, his use of historicism, the concept of hegemony and how these aspects critically revolutionized theories of Socialism and Marxism. BACKGROUND: ANTONIO GRAMSCI (1891-1937).
Antonio Gramsci was an Italian writer, politician and political theorist born on 23 January 1891 in Sardinia, one of the poorest villages in Italy. He attended the University of Turin on scholarship. In 1915, Gramsci began a journalistic career that made him one of the most feared critical voices in Italy at that time. He regularly spoke on various topics including the writings of Karl Marx. A founding member and one time leader of the Communist Party of Italy, Gramsci was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime on the evening of November 8, 1926. This began a decade long journey, marked by almost constant physical and psychiatric pain as a result of the prison experience. His death from a cerebral hemorrhage on...
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Morton, A. D. (2003). Historicizing Gramsci: Situating Ideas in and beyond Their Context. Review of International Political Economy. Vol. 10, No. 1. pp. 118-146.
Mins, H. F. (1985). The Modern Prince and Other Writings by Antonio Gramsci. Science & Society, Vol. 22, No. 3. pp. 283-286.
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