ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rethinking Antonio Gramsci's Thought and Legacy

The Gramscian Moment: Philosophy, Hegemony and Marxism by Peter D Thomas (Delhi: Aakar Books), 2013; pp xxv + 477, Rs 495

Antonio Gramsci was one of the great Marxist thinkers of the 20th century. However, his legacy carries multiple meanings. While revisiting his legacy at the beginning of the new millennium, the eminent Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm argued that the international fortunes of Gramsci’s work fluctuated with the changes in fashion of the intellectual left. He ­lamented that in the 1990s, leftists–turned-neo-liberals no longer cared to be reminded of anything that recalled old enthusiasms. For Hobsbawm, Gramsci was “par excellence the philosopher of political praxis”.1

In fact, there are many readings of Gramsci. Gramsci’s name and ideas started circulating with increasing frequency during the late 1960s and the 1970s throughout Europe, Latin America, North America and elsewhere too. The various currents associated with Euro-communism and the “New Left” contributed immensely to Gramsci’s rise to prominence during this period. Gramsci’s influence became more pronounced in the 1980s with the spread of cultural studies, the growing fascination with the question of power and the greater attention that scholars from different disciplines were devoting to the relations ­between culture, society and politics. The rapid decline of interest in Marxist thought, following the events of 1989, had no effect on Gramsci’s “fortunes”.2

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