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Hegemony, Democracy, and Passive Revolution in Gramsci's Prison Notebooks

  • Author(s): Riley, Dylan J.
  • et al.

What is the relationship between democracy and hegemony in Gramsci's Prison Notebooks? Salvadori and Galli della Loggia argue that hegemony is best understood as a theory of dictatorship and is therefore incompatible with democracy. Vacca argues that  hegemony is inconceivable in the absence of democracy. I bridge these divergent readings by making two arguments. First, hegemony is a form of rationalized intellectual and moral leadership, and therefore depends on liberal democratic institutions. Second, hegemony is established through revolution. Gramsci thus paradoxically combines a deep appreciation for liberal democracy with a basically Leninist conception of politics.

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