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Title: Antonio Gramsci's concept of civil society
Author: Hunt, G.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1982
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We show that Antonio Gramsci's central concept of 'civil society' which he employs in his Quaderni del carcere is a concept which belongs to liberal ideology and is inconsistent with Marxist theory. We show how that concept is an ideological form of capitalist relations of commodity exchange. We present the Marxist concept of the mediation and domination of commodity exchange relations as the link between the economic base and the political and ideological superstructure. Because he lacks this Marxist concept Gramsci cannot understand or explain capitalist ideology, despite the promise held out by his attempt to break with economic causalism and his proposals for a conception of base and superstructure as a relation of content and form rather than cause and effect. We present the Hegelian and Crocean origins of Gramsci's concept of civil society and display the contradictions between the Hegelian and Crocean elements of the concept. We show that the root of Gramsci's theoretical inadequacy lies in a naive conception of the economic base. For example, Gramsci substitutes the precise Marxist concept of 'mode of production' with a confused ration of 'homo economicus', substitutes the Marxist distinction between 'relations of production' and 'relations of exchange' with a vague distinction between 'organic' and 'conjunctural movements' and substitutes the concept of 'ideology' with the unsatisfactory concepts of 'hegemony' and 'consent'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available