FASS605 Gramsci

Module description

Outline syllabus

There are four main sessions plus the closing seminar. The sessions cover: The life and work of Gramsci; Gramsci and political economy; Gramsci, the state, and class analysis; intellectuals and hegemony.

Students will be asked to prepare comments on texts (available from the module's Moodle site) for each session. For the last session each student will prepare a short presentation on their research in light of one or several of the concepts discussed during the course.

Session 1: The Life and Work of Gramsci

This is a general introduction to Gramsci and his life and is intended to set the scene for later sessions. We will also use this session to allocate reading and presentation responsibilities and to agree a plan of work for the seminars and the closing session.

Key readings:

  1. Editors’ introduction to Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1971)
  2. Gramsci, The Question of Method, SPN1, 382-386
  3. At least one of the introductory books listed below.

Session 2: Gramsci and Political Economy

The critique of political economy is at the core of the Marxist tradition. A conventional view is that Gramsci was first and foremost interested in (political) philosophy and the ‘superstructure’ (culture) and neglected or even ignored political economy. This session explores Gramsci’ s many encounters with political economy and how he dealt with basic economic categories, the history of economic thought, the learning and teaching of political economy, and actual changes and developments in the capitalist mode of production and the world economy.

Key readings:

Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, notes on ‘Americanism and Fordism’, 277-318

Gramsci, Further Selections from the Prison Notebooks, Part IV, 191-277

M. Kraetke, article in reading list below

B. Jessop & N. Sum, ‘Gramsci as a proto- and post-regulation theorist’, in idem, Beyond the Regulation Approach, 348-373 (on Moodle)

J. Sperber, An Introduction to Antonio Gramsci, 98-107.

Session 3: Gramsci, the State, and Class Analysis

Gramsci is well-known for his analysis of the modern Western state from the 1870s onwards as 'political society + civil society' and of state power as 'hegemony armoured by coercion'. This session explores these claims and puts them into the context of French and Italian history, the failure of Italian state formation, the Russian revolution, the rise of fascism, and changes in post-WW1 American society. Four key themes are: the state, hegemony, the power bloc, and subaltern classes.

Key readings:

Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, Part II, esp. 136-192 and 206-265.

C. Buci-Glucksmann, Gramsci and the State, Part I (The State as a Theoretical Problem), 19-115.

B. Jessop, The Capitalist State, chapter 4, downloadable from bobjessop.org

A. Morton, Unravelling Gramsci, Part I (Engaging Gramsci), 15-110.

J. Schwarzmantel, Routledge Guidebook to Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, 150-213.

J. Sperber, An Introduction to Antonio Gramsci, 53-80.

Session 4: Intellectuals, Ideology, and Common Sense

Gramsci once claimed that everyone is an intellectual but not everyone has the function of an intellectual. This session considers the significance of intellectuals, including the distinction between traditional and organic intellectuals, for Gramsci's understanding and critique of nation-building, state formation, and forms of class domination. Also relevant here are the major themes of the Church (and the Vatican Question), common sense and conceptions of the world, and the importance of folklore. Gramsci's so-called 'cultural writings' are obviously important here.

Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, notes on ‘The Intellectuals’, 3-23

Gramsci, Further Selections from the Prison Notebooks, Part I on Religion, 1-138

Gramsci, Selections from Cultural Writings, dip into parts V (Language, Linguistics and Folklore) and VI (People, Nation and Culture)

P. Ives, Language and Hegemony in Gramsci

J. Schwarzmantel, Routledge Guidebook to Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, 68-95

J. Wainwright, article in list below

E. Morera, Gramsci, Materialism, and Philosophy, 69-93.

Session 5: Closing Session

Students give short presentations on their research in light of the concepts and texts discussed during the course. 

Aims and objectives

This module aims to introduce participants to the work of Antonio Gramsci and its relevance to the arts, humanities and social sciences. It deals with the life and work of Gramsci, outlines the principal influences on his intellectual and political analyses, and some key concepts deployed in his work. The course involves lectures, reading of primary and secondary texts, and seminar presentations by course participants.

At the end of the course, participants will have gained a basic understanding of the nature and significance of the work of Antonio Gramsci and his place in twentieth-century thought and politics. They will be able to identify and interpret some key influences on Gramsci's work and its historical context; to define the key concepts in his intellectual and political analyses; and to assess the significance of his work for their chosen field of research. 

Bibliography (with rare exceptions, these are all in the Library)

Gramsci, A. (1996-) Prison Notebooks, 3 volumes to date (new translation by Joseph Buttigieg)

Gramsci, A. (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks

Gramsci, A. (1995) Further Selections from the Prison Notebooks

Gramsci, A. (1985) Selections from Cultural Writings

Gramsci, A. (1977) Selections from Political Writings (1910-1920)

Gramsci, A. (1978) Selections from Political Writings (1921-1926)

Gramsci, A. (1994) Pre-Prison Writings, ed. R. Bellamy

Gramsci, A. (1994) Letters from Prison, 2 volumes

Gramsci, A. (1988) A Gramsci Reader 1891-1937.

Boothman, D. (2015) Pre-Prison Letters

International Gramsci Journal (2011) No 3 (March) Online and on moodle: bibliography


Anderson, P. (1980) The Antinomies of Gramsci, New Left Review, 100, 5-78

Greaves, N.M. (2009) Gramsci’s Marxism: Reclaiming a Philosophy of History and Politics, Leicester: Matador.

Hoare, G. and Sperber, N. (2015) An Introduction to Antonio Gramsci: His Life, Thought and Legacy, London: Bloomsbury.

Ives, P. (2004) Language and Hegemony in Gramsci, London: Pluto.

Jones, S. (2006) Antonio Gramsci: an Introduction, London: Routledge.

Martin, J. (1998) Gramsci’s Political Analysis: a Critical Introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Ransome, P. (1992) Antonio Gramsci: a New Introduction, Brighton: Harvester-Wheatsheaf.

Sassoon, A.S. (1980) Gramsci’s Politics, London: Croom Helm.

Schwarzmantel, J. (2015) The Routledge Guidebook to Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, London: Routledge.

Simon, R. (1982) Gramsci’s Political Thought: an Introduction, London: Lawrence & Wishart.

Other Reading

Adamson, W.L. (1980) Hegemony and Revolution: a Study of Antonio Gramsci’s Political and Cultural Theory, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ayers, A.J. (ed.) (2008) Gramsci, Political Economy, and International Relations Theory: Modern Princes and Naked Emperors, Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Bakker, I. and Gill, S. (eds) (2003) Power, Production and Social Reproduction, London: Palgrave, Chs 1 and 2.

Bellamy, R. (1990) Gramsci, Croce and the Italian political tradition, History of Political Thought, 11 (2), 313-317

Bieler, A. and Morton, A. (2006) Images of Gramsci: Connections and Contentions in Political Theory and International Relations, London: Routledge.

Bollinger, S. and Koivisto, J. (2009) Hegemonic apparatus, Historical Materialism, 17 (2), 301-08.

Boothman, D. (2008) The sources for Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, Rethinking Marxism, 20 (2), 201-215.

Boothman, D. (2012) Islam in Gramsci’s journalism and Prison Notebooks: the shifting patterns of hegemony, Historical Materialism, 20 (4), 115-40.

Borg, C., Buttigieg, J.A., and Mayo, P., eds (2002) Gramsci and Education, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.

Brennan, T. (2007) Wars of Position: The Cultural Politics of Left and Right, New York: Columbia University Press.

Briziarelli, M. and Guillem, S.M. (2016) Reviving Gramsci: Crisis, Communication and Change, London: Routledge.

Buci-Glucksmann, C. (1980) Gramsci and the State, London: Lawrence & Wishart.

Buttigieg, J. (1995) Philology and politics: returning to the text of Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, boundary 2, 21 (2), 98-138.

Cammett, J.M. (1969) Antonio Gramsci and the Origins of Italian Communism, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Carlucci, A. (2014) Gramsci and Languages: Unification, Diversity, Hegemony, Chicago: Haymarket (on order, loan copy available from Bob Jessop).

Coutinho, C.N. (2010) Gramsci’s Political Thought, Leiden: Brill.

Cox, R. (1983) Gramsci, hegemony and international relations: an essay in method, Millennium 12: 162-75.

Cox, R. (1996) Social forces, states, and world orders: beyond international relations theory, in R. Cox and T. Sinclair (eds) Approaches to Social Order, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 85-123.

Crehan, K. (2002) Gramsci, Culture and Anthropology, London: Pluto.

Crehan, K. (2011) Gramsci's concept of common sense: a useful concept for anthropologists? Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 16 (2), 273-87.

Davidson, A.B. (1984) Gramsci, the peasantry and popular culture, Journal of Peasant Studies, 11 (4), 139-154

Day, R.J.F. (2005) Gramsci is dead. Anarchist currents in the newest social movements, London: Pluto.

Dombrowski, R.S. (1989) Antonio Gramsci, Boston: Twayne.

Egan, D. (2014) Rethinking war of maneuver/war of position: Gramsci and the military metaphor, Critical Sociology, 40 (4), 521-38.

Ekers, M., Hart, G., Kipfer, S. and Loftus, A. (eds) (2013) Gramsci, Space, Nature, Politics, Chichester:  Wiley-Blackwell (on order)

Femia, J.F. (1981) Gramsci’s Political Thought: Hegemony, Consciousness, and the Revolutionary Process, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Femia, J.F. (2005) Gramsci, Machiavelli and international relations, Political Quarterly, 76 (4), 341-9.

Filipini, M. (2017) Using Gramsci: A New Approach, London: Pluto.

Fontana, B. (2010) Political space and hegemonic power in Gramsci, Journal of Political Power, 3 (3), 341-63.

Frosini, F. (2008) Beyond the crisis of Marxism: Gramsci’s contested legacy, in J. Bidet and S. Kouvelakis, eds, Critical Companion to Contemporary Marxism, Leiden: Brill.

Frosini, F. and G. Liguori, eds (2004) Le parole di Gramsci, Rome: Carocci (English translation available)

Gibbon, P. (1983) Gramsci, Eurocommunism and the Comintern, Economy & Society, 12 (3), 328-366

Gill, S.R., ed. (1993) Gramsci, Historical Materialism and International Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gill, S.R. (1995) Globalization, market civilization and disciplinary neo-liberalism, Millennium, 24 (3): 399-423.

Golding, S. (1992) Gramsci’s Democratic Theory: Contributions to a Post-Liberal Democracy, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Green, M., ed. (2011a) Rethinking Gramsci, London: Routledge.

Green, M. (2011b) ‘Rethinking the Subaltern and the Question of Censorship in Gramsci's Prison Notebooks’, Postcolonial Studies, 14 (4), 387-404.

Green, M. and Ives, P. (2009) Subalternity and language: overcoming the fragmentation of common sense, Historical Materialism, 17 (1), 3-30.

Hall, S. (1986) Gramsci’s relevance for the study of race and ethnicity, Journal of Communication Inquiry, 10 (2), 5-27.

Hall, S. (1987) Gramsci and Us, Marxism Today, June, 30-35. Available at http://www.amielandmelburn.org.uk/archive_index.htm  

Hill, D.J. (2007) Hegemony and Education: Gramsci, post-Marxism, and Radical Democracy Revisited, Lanham, MD: Lexington.

Ives, P. (2004) Language and Hegemony in Gramsci, London: Pluto.

Ives, P. and Lacorte, R. (eds) (2010), Gramsci, Language, and Translation, London: Rowman & Littlefield.

Ives, P. and Short, N. (2013) On Gramsci and the International: a textual analysis, Review of International Studies, 39 (3), 621-42.

Jessop, B. (1982) The Capitalist State: Marxist Theories and Methods, Oxford: Martin Robertson (also downloadable from www.bobjessop.org)

Jessop, B. (2005) Gramsci as a spatial theorist, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 8 (4), 1-17 (also downloadable from www.bobjessop.org)

Jubas, K. (2010) Reading Antonio Gramsci as a methodologist. International Journal of Qualitative Methods,9 (2), 224-239.

Krätke, M. (2011) Antonio Gramsci’s contribution to critical economics, Historical Materialism, 19 (3), 63-105.

Landy, M. (1986) Culture and politics in the work of Antonio Gramsci, boundary 2, 14 (3), 43-70.

Liguori, G. (2014) Gramsci’s Pathways, Leiden: Brill.

Lo Piparo, F. (1978) Lingua, intellettuali, egemonia in Gramsci. Rome: Laterza.

Martin, J. (ed.) (2001) Antonio Gramsci: Critical Assessments, 4 volumes, London: Routledge.

Mayo, P. (ed.) (2010) Gramsci and Educational Thought, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Morera, E. (1980) Gramsci’s Historicism, London: Routledge.

Morera, E. (2014) Gramsci, Materialism, and Philosophy, London: Routledge.

Morton, A.D. (2007) Disputing the geopolitics of the states system and global capitalism, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20 (4), 599-617, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09557570701680621

Morton, A.D. (2007) Unravelling Gramsci:  Hegemony and Passive Revolution in the Global Economy, London: Pluto.

Morton, A.D. (2010) The continuum of passive revolution. Capital & Class, 34 (3), 315-42.

Morton, A.D. (2013) The limits of sociological Marxism?Historical Materialism 21 (1),1–30.

Mouffe, C., ed. (1979) Gramsci and Marxist Theory, London: Routledge.

Olsaretti, A. (2013) Beyond class: the many facets of Gramsci’s theory of intellectuals. Journal of Classical Sociology, 14 (4), 363–381.

Reed, J.-P. (2013) Theorist of subaltern subjectivity: Antonio Gramsci, popular beliefs, political passion, and reciprocal learning. Critical Sociology 39 (4), 561–591.

Roberts, D.D. (2011) Reconsidering Gramsci's interpretation of fascism, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 16 (2), 239-55.

Saccarelli, E. (2011) The intellectual in question: Antonio Gramsci and the crisis of academia. Cultural Studies, 25 (6), 757-782.

Santoro, L. (2012) Antonio Gramsci: The fascist leadership as modern reactionary Caeserism [sic] and the novelty of the corporative state. Leadership, 8 (3), 277–286.

Santucci, A.A. (2010) Antonio Gramsci, Leiden: Brill.

Sassoon, A.S., ed. (1982) Approaches to Gramsci, London: Writers & Readers.

Slaughter, J. (2011) Gramsci's place in women's history, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 16 (2), 256-272.

Sotiris, P. (2014) Neither an instrument nor a fortress. Historical Materialism, 22 (2), 135–57.

Schwarzmantel, J. (2015) The Routledge Guidebook to Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks. London: Routledge

Spours, K. (2015) The Osborne supremacy. Observing the new conservative political hegemony, Juncture, 22 (2), 90-98 (on line)

Srivastava, N. and Bhattacharya, B. (eds) (2011) The Postcolonial Gramsci, London: Routledge.

Thomas, P. (2006) Modernity as “passive revolution”: Gramsci and the fundamental concepts of historical materialism, Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 17 (2), 61-78.

Thomas, P. (2011) The Gramscian Moment: Philosophy, Hegemony, and Marxism, Leiden: Brill.

Thomas, P. (2015) Gramsci’s Reading of the Base/Superstructure Metaphor, in S. R. Farris (ed.), Returns of Marxism, Amsterdam/Chicago: IIRE/Haymarket.

Wainwright, J.D. (2010) On Gramsci’s “conceptions of the world”, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35 (4), 507-21.

Wainwright, J.D.  (2010) Was Gramsci a Marxist? Rethinking Marxism, 22 (4), 617-626.

Timing and Location




15/01/18 - 12/02/18

Number of sessions:

5 x 2 hour sessions

Timing and Location:

Mondays, 3.00-5.00, Bowland North Seminar Room 23


Additional information

Minimum quota: 6