The purpose of this article is to highlight the relationship between Gramsci’s theory of hegemony —as a theory of modern political power— and the peculiar polysemy of the notion of “people”. In fact, as it will be shown, hegemony appears as a specific modality of government as a response to the emergence of a modern class society, that is, a society where the personal destiny does not necessarily depend on birth. As a consequence, politics in a class society is always characterized by the need to arouse enthusiasm and commitment, and, at the same time, to control and manipulate popular affects and imagination. According to mainstream theory, 20th century totalitarianism is a by-product of this trend of democratisation, with the reduction of the “people” to an atomised “grey mass” characterized essentially by passivity and depoliticisation. On the contrary, Gramsci’s theory of hegemony allows us to re-read this whole series of phenomena in a completely different way: as an ambivalent process of democratisation, which covers the Modern Age in its entirety. In this light, Fascism can be described as an attempt to overturn the bourgeois separation between State and civil society through a process of popular mobilisation. The “war of movement” is played against the “war of position”. Difficulties arise, when it becomes necessary to switch from insurgence to government, or, in other words, when a revolutionary regime is faced with the task of stabilising the revolution itself. Here —that is, in the way of articulating the war of position within the war of movement— is the point where the strategy of Gramsci’s “modern Prince” and Fascism completely diverge.

“Pueblo” y “Guerra de posición” como clave del populismo. Una lectura de los “Cuadernos de la cárcel” de Antonio Gramsci

FROSINI, FABIO
2014-01-01

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to highlight the relationship between Gramsci’s theory of hegemony —as a theory of modern political power— and the peculiar polysemy of the notion of “people”. In fact, as it will be shown, hegemony appears as a specific modality of government as a response to the emergence of a modern class society, that is, a society where the personal destiny does not necessarily depend on birth. As a consequence, politics in a class society is always characterized by the need to arouse enthusiasm and commitment, and, at the same time, to control and manipulate popular affects and imagination. According to mainstream theory, 20th century totalitarianism is a by-product of this trend of democratisation, with the reduction of the “people” to an atomised “grey mass” characterized essentially by passivity and depoliticisation. On the contrary, Gramsci’s theory of hegemony allows us to re-read this whole series of phenomena in a completely different way: as an ambivalent process of democratisation, which covers the Modern Age in its entirety. In this light, Fascism can be described as an attempt to overturn the bourgeois separation between State and civil society through a process of popular mobilisation. The “war of movement” is played against the “war of position”. Difficulties arise, when it becomes necessary to switch from insurgence to government, or, in other words, when a revolutionary regime is faced with the task of stabilising the revolution itself. Here —that is, in the way of articulating the war of position within the war of movement— is the point where the strategy of Gramsci’s “modern Prince” and Fascism completely diverge.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2602599
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