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Gramsci and ‘the International’: Past, Present and Future

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Part of the Critical Explorations in Contemporary Political Thought book series (CEPT)

Abstract

Situated within a historical materialist understanding of social transformation and deploying many insights from Antonio Gramsci, a crucial break with mainstream International Relations (IR) and International Political Economy (IPE) approaches emerged in the early 1980s in the work of Robert Cox.1 This provided a key inspiration for the emergence of what became known, along with a few other names, as an identifiable ‘neo-Gramscian’ literature of IR/IPE by the 1990s.2 While our own work could be identified as ‘neo-Gramscian’ in this respect,3 a key limitation of this otherwise highly significant body of scholarship was the place within it of Antonio Gramsci himself. There are two key reasons for our dissatisfaction: (1) the way in which many of Gramsci’s key insights on the international were downplayed; and (2) the manner of the critique of the neo-Gramscian literature which tended to engage not with Gramsci but those claiming to be inspired by him. As such, the case for Gramsci’s relevance still requires more work, not least because placing Gramsci at the center of our approach entails a research agenda which is distinctive compared to earlier frameworks. More provocatively, this chapter shows that a ‘Gramscian’ rather than ‘neo-Gramscian’ way of thinking is more appropriate, both in general terms and when considering the current era.4 While we do not want to claim that Gramsci simply has the answers to our questions, the argument below shows that there is still plenty of unrealized potential within IR/IPE that could be developed via Gramsci’s writings.

Keywords

  • Social Movement
  • Trade Union
  • International Relation
  • World Order
  • Global Capitalism

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© 2015 Andreas Bieler , Ian Bruff and Adam David Morton

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Bieler, A., Bruff, I., Morton, A.D. (2015). Gramsci and ‘the International’: Past, Present and Future. In: McNally, M. (eds) Antonio Gramsci. Critical Explorations in Contemporary Political Thought. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137334183_8

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