Antonio Gramsci, Hegemony, and the Greek Crisis: Building New Hegemony to Supersede Neoliberal Discourse

By Carter Vance
2017, Vol. 9 No. 04 | pg. 1/1


Antonio Gramsci’s interpretation and analysis of “hegemony,” its mechanisms, causes and consequences for the Left, is fundamentally an attempt to grapple with how culture and the “common sense of the epoch” (Miliband, 1990) grow out of class society and impose their ontological structure on even those whose interests it opposes. Given the continued existence and deepening of class divisions in the 21st century, an understanding of Gramsci’s work may be even more of a critical project for the Left now than when it was first written. The terrain on which political battles are conducted may have shifted in a multitude of ways, not the least of which being the influence of counter-hegemonic movements outside of traditional class struggle, but much of the operative systems of both domination and resistance remain similar. In first outlining an interpretation of Gramsci’s thinking on the question of hegemony in relation to political praxis, and then investigating the case of Greece in the post-2008 reality, this paper demonstrates that the failure of the Syriza party to resist EU-imposed austerity can be used as an example of hegemony reasserting itself over a Left project. Seen in this way, the experience of Greece contains important lessons about the necessity for the forces of the Left to build a new hegemony so as to supersede the currently dominant neoliberal discourse.

When reading Antonio Gramsci, it is important to keep in mind that, unlike many future thinkers whom his theories of hegemony and the cultural aspects of class society would influence, he was both a scholar and a leader of a political movement. In fact, given that his major writings were produced only after he had been imprisoned by the Mussolini regime, it is likely that he would have seen his primary role as a leader in the Italian Communist Party rather than a Marxist scholar per se. As such, Gramsci’s writings and overall analytical framework must be considered not in the realm of mere theorizing but, rather, as he himself described Machiavelli’s writings, “the style of a man of action, a man who wants to encourage action” (Gramsci, p. 141).

His writings primarily concern both the question of why revolution in production along Marxian lines had not occurred despite increasing class polarization and the more critical question of what, given this, ought to be the course of action for Marxist political movements. In this focus, political tactics—and the ideology underpinning these tactics—Gramsci builds more of an apparatus for analysis around questions that thinkers such as Rosa Luxemburg were only beginning to imply in their writings.

Gramsci’s writings and overall analytical framework must be considered not in the realm of mere theorizing but, rather, as he himself described Machiavelli’s writings, “the style of a man of action, a man who wants to encourage action.”

Namely, Gramsci’s interpretation and analysis of “hegemony,” its mechanisms, causes and consequences for the Left, is fundamentally an attempt to grapple with how culture and the “common sense of the epoch” (Miliband, 1990) grow out of class society and impose their ontological structure on even those whose interests that are fundamentally opposed to. Given the continued existence and deepening of class divisions in the world of the 21st century, an understanding of Gramsci’s work may be even more of a critical project for the Left now than when it was first written.

The terrain on which political battles are conducted may have shifted in a multitude of ways, not the least of which being the influence of counter-hegemonic movements outside of traditional class struggle, but much of the operative systems of both domination and resistance remain similar. In firstly outlining an interpretation of Gramsci’s thinking on the question of hegemony in relation to political praxis, and then investigating the case of Greece in the post-2008 reality, this paper will seek to demonstrate that the failure of the Syriza party to resist EU-imposed austerity can be as an example of hegemony reasserting itself over a Left project. Seen in this way, the experience of Greece contains important lessons about the necessity for the forces of the Left of building a new hegemony so as to supersede the currently dominant neoliberal discourse.

The Stuff of Thought

Though the term “hegemony” is frequently used in political discussions of all types, it is important to grasp the sense in which Gramsci uses the term to know why it is so central to his thought. In a basic sense, hegemony is the position of dominance of a particular class over the whole society at a given moment. In the era of feudalism, for example, the hegemonic class was that of the lords and royals, whose interests reigned predominant over those of the economic subaltern, in this case the serfs. This notion of social preeminence by class is, of course, the essence of Marx’s theory of history, that a new era is only truly begun when one class displaces as the prime beneficiary of the prevailing system of production.

The elaboration that Gramsci puts on this, building from Marx’s work in the The German Ideology, is to identify two, interlinked but distinctive, mechanisms by which dominant classes retain their hegemonic positons. Marx saw bourgeois dominance under capitalism as being primarily maintained by the threat of starvation and the brute repression of state and private armies against workers’ occasional revolts. This can best be summed up by the phrase “hegemony by control,” and it certainly is identified as crucial by Gramsci’s identification of “state coercive power which “legally” enforces discipline” (Gramsci et. al., p.12). However, there is a second method, best termed “hegemony by consent,” which is explained as “the “spontaneous” consent given by the great masses of the population to the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group” (Gramsci et. al., p.12).

This method is more invisible and less directly coercive, but nevertheless plays perhaps a more crucial role in maintain existing class relations. By making alternatives appear dubious, risky or simply impossible, the hegemonic apparatus of the dominant group closes in the ability of the subaltern to even think of or articulate theories of opposition, instead resigning themselves to the current order. Subsequent thinkers in the tradition of Gramsci, such as Ralph Miliband (1990) have further broken down the “hegemony by consent” question into two subcategories, which could be termed “strong” and “weak” hegemony. The former occurs when subordinate classes “interiorize the values and norms which dominant classes themselves have adopted and believe to be right and proper,” the latter consists of the proposition that no matter the opinion of the subordinate class of the current order that “any alternative would be catastrophically worse.”

The shift from the “strong” to the “weak” form of hegemony, which it could be argued is seen in the movement from post-war Keynesian thought to post-Thatcher neoliberalism as the dominant fraction within the capitalist class, does not make hegemony any less of a force to be reckoned with. It does, however, open up greater potentialities for the Left acting in a counter-hegemonic way, as the concrete benefits of bourgeois hegemony are shared by an ever-shrinking subset of society.

An important role in the process of hegemonic formation is played by intellectuals, which Gramsci identifies as a particular social strata with a particular social function. Though agreeing with Marx’s thoughts on the nature of ideology, in particular its inseparability from economic forces and class position, Gramsci sees intellectuals as articulating for a particular class “homogeneity and an awareness of its own function” (Gramsci, Hoare & Nowell-Smith, p. 5). This did not mean that he believed all non-intellectuals lacked a fundamental inability to grasp their own interests in relation to class dynamics, stating that “all men (sic.) are intellectuals” (Gramsci et. al., p. 9), but that only some were appointed in society as having the function of justifying these dynamics through recourse to supposed higher principles. Intellectuals are means by which dominant economic classes both come to an articulation of their collective values and principles in the social and political spheres and recast these interests as being “common sense” or the “collective interest” of a society as a whole. Crucially, Gramsci includes in the category of “intellectual” not just philosophers or other academics that would commonly be thought of as such, but also “ecclesiastics” which he terms a “category of intellectuals organically bound to the landed aristocracy” (Gramsci et. al., p.7).

In the modern day, by this same term, we ought to think of the culture industry, journalists, and other social actors which mediate between class layers as belonging to this category of “intellectuals” as well. Capitalism is distinct from previous historical epochs in this way, as “previous ruling classes were essentially conservative in the sense that they did not tend to construct organic passages from other classes into their own” (Gramsci et. al., p.260). This is both in the sense of a relative level of class fluidity in capitalism as compared to feudalism, and in the sense that capitalism must be seen to be “good” for a wider swath of the society than previous epochs in order to sustain itself. In other words, though capitalist societies, to varying degrees and at various levels of development, certainly still include a large amount of hegemony by control, particularly in the developed industrial and post-industrial periods, there is a relative shift to the hegemony of consent.

Though individuals and groups involved in reproducing such hegemony do not serve a direct economic production function, and in fact detract from an environment of maximum productive capacity in the purely classical economics sense, they are “justified by the political necessities of the dominant fundamental group” (Gramsci et. al., p. 13). As such, their existence and proliferation as allied with the dominant class represent a kind of long term investment, which may reduce profits in the short term, whilst reducing the chances of revolt and thereby the destruction of the entire profit system over the long term.

A similar point can be made about the various concessions in the forms of the “high wages” that Gramsci sees as being part of the system of “Fordism” which was slowly coming into existence in Italy during this time, or in terms of various welfare state measures. In both cases, Gramsci did not oppose such measures or the struggle for them as such, seeing that “abstention is linked with the formula “so much the worse, so much the better” (Gramsci, p. 155), but nevertheless looked at them skeptically and with an eye to how they could be made revolutionary. In this sense, he shares with Rosa Luxemburg a similar set of thoughts on the relationship between reform and revolution, seeing the former as both necessary to strengthen the “indissoluble tie” (Luxemburg, 1900) between workers and Marxist parties and containing the potential sparks of later revolution, whilst nevertheless not being inherently revolutionary in itself (though he adds an additional analysis of tactical political positions to this, which will be elaborated on momentarily).

The question of obtaining hegemony, then, would seem to rest just as much with having a strata of intellectuals able to formulate and articulate both a form of class consciousness amongst the proletariat and a sense in which the proletariat “think as members of a class which aims at leading the peasants and the intellectuals” (Gramsci, p. 36). In other words, it is not enough to simply have a sense of one’s own place in the system of production, but also of conceiving what a world with proletarian hegemony looks like, and how it can lead and benefit a wider range of social strata.

From this conundrum, it is no surprise that a good portion of Gramsci’s writings are dedicated to the issues of both education and political action in the “intellectual” realm. Referencing the figure of the Prince from the work of Machiavelli, he states that a modern form of analogous social and political leadership cannot be vested in one person, but rather in “an organism; a complex element of society in which the cementing of a collective will, recognized and partially asserted in action, has already begun” (Gramsci, p. 137). He sees this “organism” as the political party, which has the function of both organizing individuals into a coherent political formation, and of creating independent intellectuals of the working class through a system of political education and leadership. The political party is particularly important for development of a political, as opposed to strictly economic, class consciousness because political parties are where individuals “become agents of more general activities of a national and international character” (Gramsci et. al., p. 15).

In other words, an individual worker may be able to struggle for what Luxemburg would term “merely economic” demands through institutions other than a political party (a trade union, for instance), but it is only in a political party where she becomes a member of a class capable of obtaining hegemony. This is both for the reason that political parties are linked to the struggle for the control of state power1, which is one of, though not the sole, key mechanisms for the enforcement of hegemony and because political parties are where individuals begin to experience themselves as actors capable of creating political change. In this sense, Gramsci’s definition of a “political party” is not limited to the colloquial sense of a group participating in an electoral contest. Social movements of various kinds could also be termed “political parties” in that they are organized for fundamentally political purposes aimed at contesting existing conditions.

In either case, there is a necessity which Gramsci identifies for both the converting of certain members of the traditional intellectual strata, philosophers, university professors and such, to the proletarian cause, but also in developing a strata of “organic” intellectuals from within the proletariat themselves. The statement that a party ought to be “devoted to the question of intellectual and moral reform” (Gramsci, p.139) merely states the wider truth that the hegemony of consent is to a large degree founded upon internalized intellectual and moral beliefs about the operations of society. The extent to which any project challenging that the existing hegemony can hope to be successful is, in the first instance, conditioned on whether it successfully challenges these internalized assumptions.

Unlike thinkers in the Frankfurt School, Gramsci retains an optimism about the ability, through both material and intellectual struggle, for the working class to be able to break out of the trap of bourgeois hegemony and to build and assert its own hegemonic position. From seeing the actions of the workers in Turin, both to bring the factories they worked in under collective control, and their attempts to articulate a wider political programme drawing in those groups, such as peasants and intellectuals, outside of the strict “proletariat,” Gramsci saw great potential in the ability of workers to conceive of a counter-hegemony that was truly such, not merely opposed to the status quo on the terms of it being bad for their sectional class interests. Rather, it spoke to a struggle that, at least potentially, embraced a wider set of social strata in collective project of improvement, for the betterment of all. In the modern context, this could be thought of in terms of Marxist engagement with social movements which may not themselves be class-based as such.

For instance, movements for the rights of migrant farm workers or various feminist currents, may not necessarily be proletarian in nature, but they are counter-hegemonic in that they challenge status quos of White supremacy and misogyny which work to maintain current class relations. This is both for the reason that, as Gramsci alludes to in his discussions about stereotypes of Southern Italians amongst Northern workers, such identity markers ae often used by dominant classes to divide workers between themselves, and because, as a factual matter, “women and immigrants are generally situated in the unprotected [labour] market” (Laclau & Mouffe, p. 72). For this reason, as a matter of political necessity2, socialists must seek to engage with and build into their counter-hegemony the experiences and insights of these movements.

Furthermore, the continued existence of political and economic struggle in and of itself means that, contrary to the completely controlled system of late capitalism as seen by Adorno and Horkheimer, there are still moments where real alternatives come into view. At the very least, there are moments of negation of the present reality which speak to potential alternatives even if they may not be fully articulated. As Miliband states, “hegemony is not something that can ever be taken to be finally and irreversibly won” (1990), and thereby all points of hegemonic discourse, not just those of economic and class struggle, remain contested political terrain.

A Philosophy of Action

It is in no sense accidental or merely for rhetorical effect that Gramsci often uses the language of military tactics to talk about political struggles. Both because of his living in an era of often violent confrontation between various political forces and because of his keen study of Italian and broader European history, he was able to see that the lines drawn between the world of politics and that of war were often blurry if not invisible. For Gramsci, concrete political praxis consists of two basic elements, the war of position and the war of maneuver, which are related but still distinct. The former is the grand struggle between classes for hegemony, the essential social conflict that Marx identified as the driving feature of human history. Gramsci states that such a war “once won is decisive definitively” (Gramsci et. al., 239), meaning that a new class has overthrown the old in the dominant position of society.

This is similar to the conception put forward by Marx and elaborated upon by Luxemburg of “revolution” as consisting of a fundamental change in the system of production, not necessarily as the result of a single insurrectionary act. Throughout his writings, Gramsci uses the term “passive revolution” to describe similar phenomenon surrounding the Italian Risorgimento and the economic and social changes it brought to the Peninsula. When describing the innovations of Fordist production methods in Italian industry, Gramsci writes of “hegemony born in a factory” (p. 285), indicating that some wars of position may be one through methods not commonly seen as “political” in nature. By contrast, the war of maneuver consists of definite, concrete political actions, taken in the service of some goal. Examples of this could include mass strikes, participation in elections, distribution of propaganda, or a whole variety of other activities. The critical point, however, is that, even though wars of maneuver are ultimately done in the service of advancing a relative standing in the overall war of position, it “subsists so long as it is a question of winning positons which are not decisive” (Gramsci et. al., p. 239). In other words, it is wholly possible, and indeed often the case, that the proletarian movement can win a particular war of maneuver (a strike for higher wages, for instance), whilst not winning an overall positional victory.

At the same time, it is also true that victories of maneuver do advance the relative position of the class benefitting from them. Though they do not in and of themselves constitute the gaining of social hegemony, the ultimate prize in the contest of politics, they do function to build counter-hegemonic structures and consciousness, as well as to reinforce the sense of the subaltern group as being capable of taking over a dominant position. Advances of maneuver in the absence of a sufficiently sustainable position, however, can be quickly reversed or even rolled-back. For this reason, it is important to not confuse victory in one “war” for that of another, and to always be conscious of the relative balance of social forces at play. Furthermore, given the dynamic nature of capitalism as an economic system, “the identities of the opponents, far from being fixed from the beginning, constantly changes in the process” (Laclau & Mouffe, p. 60).

The proletariat therefore have a much harder task before them in attaining a hegemonic position that the bourgeoisie did in its victory over the feudal ruling class, given the static nature of the latter. An example of this can be seen in the shift on the Left from a critique of the welfare state in period leading up to 1979, to a defense of the same in response to neoliberal attacks. The terrain of politics under capitalism, therefore, is one which is ever-shifting and contingent on a wide variety of social and economic factors outside of the simple political form of the state. This means that any philosophy that advanced by a counter-hegemonic project must fundamentally a responsive, dynamic one.

Gramsci was adamant in his discussion of philosophy that “it is not just the ideas that require to be confronted, but the social forces behind them” (Gramsci et. al., p. 321). This is of a piece with Marx’s statement that “not criticism, but revolution is the driving force of history” (1972). In order to deal “theoretically” with questions, it is necessary to deal with them in a practical manner as well, to articulate a form of social struggle which advances wars of maneuver and position and to actually execute them. These forms need not necessarily be acts of open rebellion in all cases, but should take into account the concrete needs of people in the immediate moment by way of connecting them to a longer-term struggle for social position. Political thought, in the simple act of thinking and acting politically, “transforms men (sic.), makes them different from what they were before” (Gramsci, p. 182), meaning that our selves are not static either, and can escape from the hegemony of the society they are born into.

The Case of Greece

The experience of Greece since the financial crisis of 2008 represents a particularly acute, and therefore instructive, example of where wars of maneuver run head-on into the realities of existing hegemonic economic and political structures. Through a combination of a collapse in the its banking system and the subsequent imposition of harsh austerity measures by the European Union and International Monetary, since 2008 Greece been in a state of constant, externally imposed social crisis. Unemployment has hovered around the 25% range, with youth unemployment around 50% and extreme poverty and social deprivation increasing year-by-year. Protests and marches have raged in the streets and squares of the country since, often accompanied by violence from state police and openly fascist parties such as Golden Dawn. Though it may be the starkest example, the shift from the hegemony of consent to that of control in the post-2008 era is hardly unique to Greece. Rather, it should be seen as within continuity with a broader shift of state functions away from social welfare and towards policing and other methods of social control in the developed world since the end of the 1970s.

The coming to power of the Coalition of the Radical Left (commonly referred to as Syriza, after its Greek acronym) in January of 2015 represented, for many, both the best hope for ending the ruling hegemony of neoliberal ideas in Europe and a chance to stop the social catastrophe the country had become. Despite being elected on a mandate to end austerity, and despite a referendum result in June of 2015 rejecting a new bailout package, the government ultimately capitulated to creditors in July of the same year, and has retained power to the present day whilst implementing new sets of measures demanded by creditors. This is all while protests continue to grow, the neo-Nazi right continues to gain in strength, and many of the previous allies of the government denounce it. The experience has left many who had initially supported Syriza to ask what had happened, that a moment that began with such promise would end in such a stark defeat.

Examined through a Gramscian lens, the true problem of Syriza’s time in power as a potentially revolutionary force, and the seed of its ultimate defeat, lay in its inability or unwillingness to harness its victory in a war of maneuver to take definitive steps in the war of position. Undoubtedly, the victory of Syriza opened at least the possibilities for a further left project to emerge. But, just as an insurrectionary moment in itself is no sure sign of revolution, so too is electing a “radical left” government no sure sign that one will actually emerge.

Syriza did cultivate a network of support amongst various so-called “solidarity projects” that emerged in the wake of the EU austerity measures, many of which endorsed alternative, anti-capitalist economic visions (Rakopoulous, 2014). However, it did not fundamentally orient its electoral platform towards them, mainly promising to grant them legal operational space and perhaps provide some government funding to them. In the event, it did provide the first of these things, but not the second, and has imposed a variety of further austerity measures which threaten the existence of these projects through regressive taxation and privatization. This unwillingness to place the solidarity projects at the centre of their economic and political recovery strategy is demonstrative of a general confusion around the party’s political strategy and the basis of its popular mandate.

It is important to remember that, during the January 2015 election, Syriza won on a promise not of a radical restructuring of Greek social and economic life, but rather an end to austerity and a return to pre-2008 normality, without a consideration of whether breaking with the European Union would be necessary for even these modest goals to be achievable. The party’s electoral document, the Thessaloniki Program, was mainly made up of Keynesian welfare state measures, promises to tackle endemic corruption in the Greek economy and social liberalism on issues such as same-sex marriage and immigration law. Furthermore, the party succeeded primarily by appealing to populist anti-elite sentiment, but articulated this more in terms of national sovereignty and social dignity rather that anti-capitalist sentiment or class consciousness as such. This is further confirmed by the fact that the party entered into coalition with the right-nationalist, anti-austerity Independent Greeks upon its electoral victory. Gramsci describes this narrow anti-elitism, not linked to an overall framework of historical analysis, as not “evidence of class consciousness – merely the first glimmer of such consciousness, in other words, merely as the basic negative, polemical attitude” (Gramsci et. al., p. 273).

In other words, Syriza was able to capitalize on popular anger, but it was either unable or simply did not care to engage in a process of political education as to the underlying sources of that anger, which may have opened more radical possibilities. Though the emphasis on sovereignty and alliances with nationalist elements could be seen as attempt to “nationalize” the class character of the proletariat3 and put it into a position of being able to lead on behalf of a broad mass movement, this analysis obscures the essentially reformist nature of the critique of austerity put forward by Syriza. Other cases where, “the popular mass identity was other and broader than class identity” (Laclau & Mouffe, p. 52) in the political programme of a socialist party have tended to be anti-colonial or otherwise anti-imperialist struggles marked by mass social mobilization and advanced almost exclusively by non-electoral means4. Syriza and other elements of the Greek Left occasionally did make reference to the notion of Greece being a “debt colony” of the EU, the belief that this situation could be resolved by purely electoral means testifies to the largely rhetorical nature of such a claim, in terms of its political meaning. In this sense, they would have done well to heed Gramsci’s warning to “not ape the methods of the ruling classes, or one will fall into easy ambushes” (p.232).

Even the “No” vote on the initial June 2015 bailout deal was proposed by the Syriza government in terms of a negotiating strategy to secure a better agreement by a show of political force, rather than an attempt to definitively break with the European Union and the wider neoliberal framework. Though it is true that some smaller elements which backed a “No” vote, such as the Antarsya party, did represent the vote in terms of a radical break measure, the overwhelming message coming from the “No” camp was about gaining negotiating leverage, and one must assume that is what the majority of voters had in mind as well, especially given contemporary polling showing a solid majority of the country in favour of staying within the EU and Eurozone5.

The retrospective attempt to reframe the “No” vote in terms of a “mass movement” wherein it the government’s “job was to follow that mass movement, not to decide if there was an alternative” (Ioakimoglou & Souvlis, 2016) overestimates the degree to which the Greek populace had taken on the belief that a world beyond the hegemony of the EU was, indeed, possible. This is not to claim, as some so, that the government had “no alternative” but to impose further austerity, but rather that the moment of that alternative being closed came far before June 2015.

Syriza should, therefore, be faulted, for rejecting “in advance any thought about a rupture with the Eurozone” (Sotiris, 2016) and thereby not laying any of the necessary social and political groundwork that would have been needed to ensure popular support through a no doubt deeply painful period of economic transition which would have followed a rupture. By not proposing a true alternative to the politics of permanent austerity, by not recognizing, Syriza was forced to capitulate, and many of the illusions about the all-powerful nature of elected governments, even those of the self-described radical left, crumbled away for a new generation, as they had for so many in the past.

The Lessons of Defeat

What, then, is the lesson to be learned for the Left from Syriza’s defeat in victory? Fundamentally, it is not to confuse victory in a war of maneuver to that in a war of position. The currently dominant hegemony may be “weak” and increasingly reliant on a method of naked control over attempts at consent, but it is hegemonic nevertheless. It is therefore deeply naïve to believe that the simple statement of a “No” constitutes a fully-formed counter-hegemonic process, especially without meaningful linkages to outside social movements and a commitment to intellectual and moral reform. Without a positive, counter-hegemonic vision that is not simply a negation of status quo or a wish for a more “civilized” version of it, there is no formation of the kind of body politic able to break free of the currently dominant modes of thought for the long-process of true revolution.

The great failure of Syriza’s leaders was both in their underestimation of the forces arrayed against them in the European Union and the wider transnational capitalist class and in their inability to describe to Greek society an alternative vision. They were constrained from this, arguably, by their own political timidity, but also by isolation from sympathetic movements throughout Europe and internationally, as well as by often-contradictory mandate given to the by the public. These constraints, too, were reinforced by the belief in electoral politics above all else as a method for achieving definitive change, as opposed to merely being an avenue by which to open the possibility of such change. Syriza may be, and have been, a political party in the common definition, but it remains far from fulfilling the functions of a “political party” under Gramsci’s sense of the term. Above all, it remained, even at its most radical points, a mere negation of the existing social hegemony, constructed on the belief that it would not be necessary to build a wholly new one.

As Ralph Miliband wrote over 25 years ago, the task of socialism is encompassed in the “affirmation that an entirely different social order, based on radically different foundations, is not only desirable, but possible” (1990). Syriza was able to demonstrate the first of those propositions, though it hardly needed to given the state of the Greek political economy by January of 2015, but it proved either unwilling or unable to demonstrate the latter. It is in that next step, from the realm of pure theory to a “philosophy of praxis” (Gramsci et. al, p. 248), that the Left must move if it is to avoid the next Greece having the same outcome as the last one.


Ioakimoglou, E. & Souvlis, G. (2016, August 27). Greece Was the Prologue. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from

Gramsci, A. (1967).The modern prince, and other writings. New York: International.

Gramsci, A., Hoare, Q. & Nowell-Smith, G. (1972).Selections from the prison notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. New York: International.

Laclau, E. & Mouffe, C. (1985).Hegemony and socialist strategy: Towards a radical democratic politics. London: Verso.

Luxemburg, R. (1900). Reform or Revolution. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from

Marx, K., Engels, F. & Arthur, C. J. (1972).The German ideology. New York: International.

Miliband, R. (1990). Counter-hegemonic struggles. Socialist Register 26

Rakopoulos, T. (2014). The crisis seen from below, within, and against: From solidarity economy to food distribution cooperatives in Greece. Dialectical Anthropology, (2), 189.

Sotiris, P. (2016, February 10). The Dream That Became a Nightmare. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from


  1. Though one should be careful to not limit this necessarily to a conflation between state and government, as Gramsci states that “State = political society + civil society, in other words hegemony protected by the armour of coercion” (Gramsci et. al., p.263)
  2. This is, of course, not to downplay the importance of these movements on their own terms. Rather, simply to point out the wholly necessary process of reaching beyond a narrow basis of interest when seeking hegemony.
  3. Something which Gramsci identifies as occasionally necessary, see page 241 of Selections from the Prison Notebooks
  4. Examples of this would include national liberation movements in Vietnam, South Africa and Algeria
  5. See:

Suggested Reading from Inquiries Journal

Conceiving neoliberalism as a form of constructivism, an ideological project rather than a doctrine prefigured by ‘human nature’, illuminates a promising path towards countering its impoverishing effect on both the citizen subject and the ethos of democracy. This involves a concerted intervention at the level of discourse... MORE»
Concern regarding the inequity and commodification apparently necessary for the capitalist system to thrive is not new. Marx, in his work Capital: Critique of Political Economy (1867), raised the idea of the fallibility of fetishism, including an “attribution of magical powers to the ‘global market&rsquo... MORE»
Since the end of the Second World War, scholars of British military history have busied themselves with attempts to explain the British defeat at Singapore to Japan in February 1942. Research reveals that there existed what... MORE»
Michael Thompson, reviewing A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey, calls it ‘the world according to David Harvey’ (2005). This is an accurate remark: although erring slightly on the side of conspiracy, the book is a breathtaking overview of the ‘neoliberal world’ through Harvey&rsquo... MORE»
Submit to Inquiries Journal, Get a Decision in 10-Days

Inquiries Journal provides undergraduate and graduate students around the world a platform for the wide dissemination of academic work over a range of core disciplines.

Representing the work of students from hundreds of institutions around the globe, Inquiries Journal's large database of academic articles is completely free. Learn more | Blog | Submit

Follow IJ

Latest in Political Science

2022, Vol. 14 No. 09
This interdisciplinary paper investigates the shortfalls and obstacles to success currently facing the climate movement, examining issues represented by the disconnect between policy and electoral politics, the hypocrisy and blatant indifference... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 06
Two of the most prevalent protest movements in recent history were the Black Lives Matter and the #StopTheSteal movements. While there are many differences between the two, one of the most prevalent is their use of violence. Whereas the BLM movement... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 05
Strong linkages between autocrats and the military are often seen as a necessary condition for authoritarian regime survival in the face of uprising. The Arab Spring of 2011 supports this contention: the armed forces in Libya and Syria suppressed... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 04
During the summer of 2020, two fatal shootings occurred following Black Lives Matter protests. The first event involved Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the second Michael Reinoehl in Portland, Oregon. Two shootings, each committed by... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 02
In popular international relations (IR) theory, knowledge production is often dismissed as an objective process between the researcher and the empirical world. This article rejects this notion and contends that the process of knowledge production... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 01
This article explores the political relationship between nation-building, ethnicity, and democracy in the context of Ethiopia. It traces Ethiopia's poltical history, explores the consequential role ethnicity has played in the formation of the modern... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 01
The study examines the degree to which Xi Jinping has brought about a strategic shift to the Chinese outward investment pattern and how this may present significant political leverage and military advantages for China in the Indian Ocean Region (... Read Article »

What are you looking for?


How to Manage a Group Project (Video)
7 Big Differences Between College and Graduate School
Presentation Tips 101 (Video)