Catalogue


Gramsci's political thought /
by Carlos Nelson Coutinho ; translated from the Portuguese by Pedro Sette-Cãamara ; with a foreword by Joseph A. Buttigieg.
imprint
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2012.
description
xvi, 198 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
9789004228665 (hardback : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2012.
isbn
9789004228665 (hardback : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction -- Youth, a contradictory formation: 1910-18 -- Workers' democracy and factory-councils: 1919-20 -- Passage to maturity: 1921-6 -- Methodological observations on the prison notebooks -- The 'extended' theory of the state -- The party as 'collective intellectual' -- The current relevance and universality of Gramsci.
catalogue key
8668973
 
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Carlos Nelson Coutinho is Professor Emeritus of Political Theory at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. He is the author of several books on political theory, such as: Marxismo e poltica (So Paulo, Cortez, 2008; Santiago de Chile, Lom Ediciones, 2011) and De Rousseau a Gramsci (So Paulo, Boitempo, 2011). Professor Coutinho is editor of the Brazilian version of The Complete Works of Antonio Gramsci (Obras de Antonio Gramsci), published in ten volumes (1999-2004).
Excerpts
Introduction or Preface
PrefaceThis book on the thought of Antonio Gramsci aims to investigate the decisive points in the formation and systematisation of his political theory. After examining Gramsci's formative years (191026), in which he gradually absorbed the essential elements of Marx's and Lenin's heritage, I propose a discussion of the main methodological questions presented by Gramsci's great mature work the Prison Notebooks where I indicate the themes by which I think he establishes a relationship with Marx and Lenin, not of mere continuity, but of true dialectical preservation and renewal. In the last chapter and in the third of the appendices, I try to demonstrate the universality of Gramsci's ideas, discussing not only his influence on current Marxist thinking, but also, and most importantly, the operational validity of many of his categories to a deeper analysis of Brazilian reality. The other two appendices complete and reinforce themes discussed in previous chapters. The first highlights Gramsci's creative dialogue with modern political philosophy (particularly with Rousseau and Hegel), while the second explores the possibility of applying Gramsci's category of passive revolution to the understanding of what has been called the neoliberal era.Having focused on political theory, I was forced to leave out, or to address only incidentally, many important aspects of Gramsci's thought, such as his analyses of the links between literature and society, the concept of national-popular culture, his many observations on education and so on. This approach, however, seems to me justified by the very internal structure of Gramsci's work: in Chapter Four, I will try to show that politics is the starting-point from which Gramsci analyses social life as a whole, the questions of art and culture, of philosophy, of pedagogy and beyond. Furthermore, I think it is in the sphere of political theory or, in a broader sense, in the creation of a Marxist ontology of political praxis that Gramsci's essential contribution to the renewal of Marxism, and of political philosophy in general, lies.I agree with Umberto Cerroni when he says,Upon careful consideration of the dramatic evolution of socialism's political theory on the twentieth century, one has to admit that only with Antonio Gramsci did this theory achieve a sufficiently articulated formulation and was able to compete with official political theory.( Cerroni 1973: 151)It would be false, however, to conclude from this legitimate historical observation that there can be found in Gramsci's work precise and complete indications about all theoretical problems faced today by the socialist movement inspired by Marxism. For that reason, I will try to mention in this book, even if only briefly, the instances in which Gramsci's thought was realised preserved, but also brought to a higher level not only in the theoretical works of his more direct heirs, the Italian Marxists, among which Palmiro Togliatti and Pietro Ingrao stand out, but also in the late work of Nicos Poulantzas.The acknowledgement of the centrality of Gramsci to the elaboration of Marxism must not, therefore, result in any sort of new and dangerous dogmatic canonisation. There is no such thing as 'Gramscism', just as there is no such thing as 'Leninism', to the extent that these two terms should not refer to a collection of fixed and immutable dogmas, obtained through the decontextualisation and, consequently, the de-historicisation of statements made by the two revolutionary thinkers. As early as 1923, Lukács said, 'in matters of Marxism, orthodoxy refers exclusively to method.' (Lukács 1971: 8) This observation, I think, is just as valid for Gramsci; and that is why the present work attributes particular significance to the methodology contained in the Prison Notebooks. However, this should not mean a denial of the extraordinary fecundity of many of the categories created by Gramsci when employing his method. These categories possess an analytical power which transcends their time and place, as I try to demonstrate when analysing the case of Brazil. I hope this book, in spite of its holes and gaps, may contribute to rendering more evident the novelty of Gramsci's categories to Marxist thought, and also to highlighting the current relevance of his theoretical and political legacy.
First Chapter
Preface This book on the thought of Antonio Gramsci aims to investigate the decisive points in the formation and systematisation of his political theory. After examining Gramsci’s formative years (1910–26), in which he gradually absorbed the essential elements of Marx’s and Lenin’s heritage, I propose a discussion of the main methodological questions presented by Gramsci’s great mature work – the Prison Notebooks – where I indicate the themes by which I think he establishes a relationship with Marx and Lenin, not of mere continuity, but of true dialectical preservation and renewal. In the last chapter and in the third of the appendices, I try to demonstrate the universality of Gramsci’s ideas, discussing not only his influence on current Marxist thinking, but also, and most importantly, the operational validity of many of his categories to a deeper analysis of Brazilian reality. The other two appendices complete and reinforce themes discussed in previous chapters. The first highlights Gramsci’s creative dialogue with modern political philosophy (particularly with Rousseau and Hegel), while the second explores the possibility of applying Gramsci’s category of passive revolution to the understanding of what has been called the neoliberal era. Having focused on political theory, I was forced to leave out, or to address only incidentally, many important aspects of Gramsci’s thought, such as his analyses of the links between literature and society, the concept of national-popular culture, his many observations on education and so on. This approach, however, seems to me justified by the very internal structure of Gramsci’s work: in Chapter Four, I will try to show that politics is the starting-point from which Gramsci analyses social life as a whole, the questions of art and culture, of philosophy, of pedagogy and beyond. Furthermore, I think it is in the sphere of political theory – or, in a broader sense, in the creation of a Marxist ontology of political praxis – that Gramsci’s essential contribution to the renewal of Marxism, and of political philosophy in general, lies. I agree with Umberto Cerroni when he says, Upon careful consideration of the dramatic evolution of socialism’s political theory on the twentieth century, one has to admit that only with Antonio Gramsci did this theory achieve a sufficiently articulated formulation and was able to compete with official political theory.( Cerroni 1973: 151) It would be false, however, to conclude from this legitimate historical observation that there can be found in Gramsci’s work precise and complete indications about all theoretical problems faced today by the socialist movement inspired by Marxism. For that reason, I will try to mention in this book, even if only briefly, the instances in which Gramsci’s thought was realised – preserved, but also brought to a higher level – not only in the theoretical works of his more direct heirs, the Italian Marxists, among which Palmiro Togliatti and Pietro Ingrao stand out, but also in the late work of Nicos Poulantzas. The acknowledgement of the centrality of Gramsci to the elaboration of Marxism must not, therefore, result in any sort of new and dangerous dogmatic canonisation. There is no such thing as ‘Gramscism’, just as there is no such thing as ‘Leninism’, to the extent that these two terms should not refer to a collection of fixed and immutable dogmas, obtained through the decontextualisation and, consequently, the de-historicisation of statements made by the two revolutionary thinkers. As early as 1923, Lukács said, ‘in matters of Marxism, orthodoxy refers exclusively to method.’ (Lukács 1971: 8) This observation, I think, is just as valid for Gramsci; and that is why the present work attributes particular significance to the methodology contained in the Prison Notebooks. However, this should not mean a denial of the extraordinary fecundity of many of the categories created by Gramsci when employing his method. These categories possess an analytical power which transcends their time and place, as I try to demonstrate when analysing the case of Brazil. I hope this book, in spite of its holes and gaps, may contribute to rendering more evident the novelty of Gramsci’s categories to Marxist thought, and also to highlighting the current relevance of his theoretical and political legacy.
Reviews
Review Quotes
[This publication] provides a wonderful opportunity to draw some attention to the debates on Gramsci in Latin America [...]. and is an essential window through which to view debates in and beyond Brazil.Adam David Mortom, href="http://adamdavidmorton.com/2012/09/passive-revolution-or-counter-reformation-a-view-from-latin-america/"> For the Desk Drawer
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, October 2012
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Summaries
Long Description
In Gramsci's Political Thought, Carlos Nelson Coutinho offers an analysis of the evolution of the political thought of Antonio Gramsci. Focusing on central concepts of the Prison Notebooks and relating them to the history of modern political ideas, the book also demonstrates that Gramsci's ideas continue to be relevant resources for understanding the controversies of our present time. Written by a leading Brazilian Marxist theorist, Gramsci's Political Thought provides one of the most succinct and theoretically focused introductions to the thought of Antonio Gramsci available internationally.
Description for Reader
The book offers a critical analysis of the political thought of Antonio Gramsci the author of Letters from Prison.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Coutinho offers an analysis of the evolution of the political thought of Antonio Gramsci. Focusing on central concepts of the 'Prison Notebooks' and relating them to the history of modern political ideas, this book also demonstrates that his ideas continue to be relevant resources for understanding the present controversies.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xv
Youth, a Contradictory Formation: 1910-18p. 1
Sardiniap. 1
The encounter with Croce and Gentilep. 3
Gramsci turns away from the Marxism of the Second Internationalp. 7
Workers' Democracy and Factory-Councils: 1919-20p. 13
L'Ordine Nuovop. 13
Gramsci and Bordigap. 17
The defeat of the councilsp. 20
Passage to Maturity: 1921-6p. 23
From the foundation of the PCd'I to the fight against fascismp. 23
The struggle against sectarianismp. 31
The first formulations of the concept of hegemonyp. 37
Methodological Observations on the Prison Notebooksp. 46
The systematic nature of the Notebooksp. 47
Gramsci's place in the evolution of Marxismp. 50
Gramsci as a critic of politicsp. 54
On the relations between politics, economics and social totalityp. 61
Gramsci's philosophical conceptionsp. 66
The 'Extended' Theory of the Statep. 77
The concept of 'civil society'p. 77
'Regulated society' and the end of the statep. 87
Socialist Strategy in the 'West'p. 93
War of movement and war of positionp. 93
On the concept of passive revolutionp. 100
From Gramsci's proposal of a 'constituent assembly' to Togliatti's 'progressive democracy'p. 105
The Party as 'Collective Intellectual'p. 110
The Current Relevance and Universality of Gramscip. 120
Another socialist modelp. 121
A radical conception of democracyp. 125
With Gramsci, beyond Gramscip. 130
General Will and Democracy in Rousseau, Hegel and Gramscip. 137
The priority of the publicp. 138
Rousseau and the general willp. 140
Hegel and the determinations of willp. 144
Gramsci and hegemony as contractp. 150
The Neoliberal Age: Passive Revolution or Counter-Reformation?p. 156
Counter-reformationp. 157
The Welfare-state as passive revolutionp. 158
Neoliberalism as counter-reformationp. 160
Transformismp. 161
Gramsci and Brazilp. 163
Receptionp. 164
Usesp. 174
Referencesp. 189
Indexp. 195
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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