Lectures on Gramsci


This module introduces 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.

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.

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.

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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.

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Session 3: Gramsci and the State

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.

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Session 4: Gramsci on Hegemony, Ideology, and Intellectuals

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.

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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, London: Pluto.

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.

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

Other Reading

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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 http://www.bobjessop.org)

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

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.

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

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

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

Nelson-Coutinho, C. (2013) Gramsci’s Political Thought, Chicago:  Haymarket Books.

Roberts, D.D. (2011) Reconsidering Gramsci’s interpretation of fascism, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 16 (2), 239–255

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, London: Writers & Readers.

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.

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

6 thoughts on “Lectures on Gramsci

  1. Pingback: Lectures on Gramsci | Learning Philosophy of Change

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