Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Gramsci, Antonio (1891–1937)
Joseph V. Femia
Antonio Gramsci was one of the pioneers of Western or humanistic Marxism—a tradition that opposed orthodox Marxism for its determinism and its objective materialist conception of history. Disenchantment among Marxists with the prevailing orthodoxy was fueled by unfolding historical events. By the mid-1930s, economic depressions had come and gone without producing the systemic collapse of capitalism that Marx had predicted. World War I, from 1914 to 1918, and the subsequent disintegration of proletarian internationalism nourished the suspicion that the European masses had ceased to be a revolutionary force—if indeed they ever were. The rapid rise of fascism and Nazism in the years following the war reinforced the gathering sense that Marx's predictions were mistaken. In place of deterministic modes of analysis, a new breed of Marxist, influenced by Hegelian categories of thought, began to highlight the importance of human agency, of creative human action, in historical development. Every contribution Gramsci ...