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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.

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 neglected or even ignored political economy. This session explores Gramsci' s many encounters with political economy and the way in which 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.

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.

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.

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.


Reading list

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) Letters from Prison, 2 volumes


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

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

Martin, J. (1998) Gramsci's Political Analysis

Ransome, P. (1992) Antonio Gramsci: a New Introduction

Sassoon, A.S. (1980) Gramsci's Politics

Simon, R. (1982) Gramsci's Political Thought: an Introduction

Other Reading

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

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

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

Brennan, T. (2006) Wars of Position: The Cultural Politics of Left and Right

Buci-Glucksmann, C. (1980) Gramsci and the State

Carlucci, A. (2015) Gramsci and Languages: Unification, Diversity, Hegemony

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: CUP, 85-123.

Crehan, K. (2002) Gramsci, Culture and Anthropology

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.

Dombrowski, R.S. (1989) Antonio Gramsci

Ekers, M., Hart, G.,Kipfer, S. and Loftus, A.(eds) (2013) Gramsci, Space, Nature, Politics

Femia, J.F. (1981) Gramsci's Political Thought

Frosini, F. and G. Liguori, eds (2004) Le parole di Gramsci

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

Gill, S.R. (1995) 'Globalization, Market Civilization and Disciplinary Neo-Liberalism', Millennium, 24 (3): 399-423

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

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

Ives, P. and Lacorte, R. (eds) (2010), Gramsci, Language, and Translation.

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

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

Kr├Ątke, 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.

Martin, J. (1998) Gramsci's Political Analysis: a Critical Introduction

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

Mayo, P. (ed.) (2010)Gramsci and Educational Thought

McNally, M. (ed.) Antonio Gramsci 

Morera, E. (1980) Gramsci's Historicism

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

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

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

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

Sassoon, A.S., ed. (1982) Approaches to Gramsci

Sristastava, N. and Bhattachary, B. (eds) (2011) The Postcolonial Gramsci

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

Wainwright, J. (2010) On Gramsci's "conceptions of the world", Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35 (4), 507-21.


Timing and Location




12/01/16 - 09/02/16

Number of sessions:

5 x 2 hour sessions

Timing and Location:

Tuesdays, 2.00-4.00, County Main Seminar Room 01


Additional information

Minimum quota: 6

Maximum quota: 25


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