|Selections from the Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci|
The Prison Notebooks (Quaderni del carcere) were a series of notebooks written by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci was imprisoned by the Italian Fascist regime in 1926. The notebooks were written between 1929 and 1935, when Gramsci was released from prison on grounds of ill health. He died in April 1937.
He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. Although written unsystematically, the Prison Notebooks are considered a highly original contribution to 20th century political theory. Gramsci drew insights from varying sources - not only other Marxists but also thinkers such as NiccolĂ˛ Machiavelli, Vilfredo Pareto, Georges Sorel and Benedetto Croce. His notebooks cover a wide range of topics, including Italian history and nationalism, the French Revolution, Fascism, Fordism, civil society, folklore, religion and high and popular culture,
The notebooks were smuggled out of prison in the 1930s. They were not published until the 1950s and were first translated into English in the 1970s.
Some ideas in Marxist theory, critical theory and educational theory that are associated with Gramsci's name:
Cultural hegemony as a means of maintaining the capitalist state.
The need for popular workers' education to encourage development of intellectuals from the working class.
The distinction between political society (the police, the army, legal system, etc.) which dominates directly and coercively, and civil society (the family, the education system, trade unions, etc.) where leadership is constituted through ideology or by means of consent.
A critique of economic determinism that opposes fatalistic interpretations of Marxism.
A critique of philosophical materialism.
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