AD's English Literature : Literary Criticism: Marxism- Gramsci’s Hegemony

Monday, January 23, 2012

Literary Criticism: Marxism- Gramsci’s Hegemony

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), Italian Communist Party leader and Marxist political theorist published as a journalist for the Socialist newspaper Avanti! (Forward!).

Gramsci sought to chart a new course for the Socialists. During this period he worked closely with Palmiro Togliatti, who went on to serve as leader of the Italian Communist Party from 1926 to 1964. Togliatti and Gramsci joined forces with Umberto Terracini, who began publishing the leftist journal L’Ordine Nuovo (The New Order) in 1919. The three men tried to encourage workers to take over the factories in Turin, Italy's industrial capital. They argued that if the workers seized the factories and assumed management responsibilities, the workers could form factory councils that would help them acquire the political and technical sophistication necessary for achieving socialism. Socialist Party leaders condemned this approach as utopian and argued that the chief task for the radical left should be the overthrow of the state.

Karl Marx
In Althusser, there is no room for autonomous or non ideological thought or action. However, with Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci, a modified concept came into being, that of hegemony. Hegemony is the domination of a set of beliefs and values through ‘consent’ rather than through coercive force. Under hegemonic conditions the majority of a nation’s citizens has so effectively internalized what the rulers want them to believe that they genuinely think that they are voicing their own opinion. However, there is always room for dissent. American Marxist critic Raymond Williams emphasized this aspect and expressed his view that the base completely determines the superstructure is too simple. From William’s perspective, ideology, hegemony and counter-hegemonic tendencies struggle with each other in literature and culture that are constantly in motion. Cultural Materialists follow Raymond.

Ardhendu De 


1.     Literary Criticism: Marxism in details

2.     Literary Criticism: Marxist Literary Studies

3.     Literary Criticism: Marxism in details- Althusser’s Ideology

4.     Literary Criticism: Marxism- Gramsci’s Hegemony

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