Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What is Change?

As mentioned earlier, Gramsci’s theory can be viewed as a holistic one which covers almost all aspects of the subject matter and tries to provide a complete picture of the issue. Within that completeness, it can be said that Gramsci’s main concern is to bring change to his society in particular and to world in general, and to do that, he first tries to provide ways for understanding and explaining the world/society he is in, and secondly, shows the ways or instruments through which this change can be realized.

Also with regards to “change”, it would be wrong to argue that Gramsci is solely, even at different and isolated parts of his writings, interested with only one dimension of change in a society, be it economic change, political change, social change, or cultural change, etc. What is more correct is that he is actually interested in the phenomenon of change as a whole, and in that respect that change refers to, or covers, all these spheres of a society. In the following entries, I will also deal with that broad definition or understanding of change in Gramsci’s thought; however, when I use the term, I will briefly use it as “socio-political change”.

The political party, the so-called Modern Prince, in that regard is related with Gramsci’s broader concerns about the political situation of the working-class in Italy, and how this class can succeed in establishing its own hegemony. Deriving from these broad perceptions regarding politics and life, Gramsci perceives the political party, not just as a mere sociological category, but as a very important component and instrument through which the socio-political change, the “whole change” which Gramsci envisages, can be brought to Italy. In that regard, what he expects from the political party is to found a new type of State which is far broader than any political party’s general functions in today’s world, and what he actually means by “a new type of State” is a combination of many other things, such as a new culture, a new society, new citizens, new man, new world-view, new ideology, etc.

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