I was reminded of Antonio Gramsci from THIS POST over at DIU blog (I have no clue what that spot is supposed to be saying. As I listened to it, I got the sneaking suspicion that it is addressing a very specifically informed group. I think he was saying something to the effect that Gramsci ideas can’t be correlated to neural scans of brain activity . But that merely beckons the question, soTo me it is pretty much nonsense. lol).
Here is the Wiki entry:
Gramsci is best known for his theory of cultural hegemony, which describes how the state and ruling capitalist class – the bourgeoisie – use cultural institutions to maintain power in capitalist societies. The bourgeoisie in Gramsci’s view develops a hegemonic culture using ideology rather than violence, economic force, or coercion. Hegemonic culture propagates its own values and norms so that they become the “common sense” values of all and thus maintain the status quo. Hegemonic power is therefore used to maintain consent to the capitalist order, rather than coercive power using force to maintain order. This cultural hegemony is produced and reproduced by the dominant class through the institutions that form the superstructure.
I learned of Gramsci in college. I don’t remember what class or the name of the book but I remember reading the book by him. This was the same class in which we were taught Langue and Parole.
As an anthropology undergraduate, we were taught to be concerned with the social human being. But were we taught or were we already concerned with this common humanity? I remember having really no clue what I was reading. Gramsci, Saussure, others, I was reading and talking and taking tests and writing papers but I remember, I look back, and I can feel my ignorance in reverie; what they were giving to us to learn from, or, the information that it seems to me they were trying to convey — I can’t know what the professors thought, but if I can gather from this whole period, I might not be too far off the mark to see that they reside and act from a particular moment of humanity that is particularly social as it is then empirical.
Often enough we can see this moment in Marxism, or at least Marxist theory (if to Marx’s own writings), but much in Gramsci and Saussure (again, at least applied in this case). Moments are defined by limits, but though we might juxtapose these moments and have certain views into things, such moments are not necessarily reducible to thereby come to some larger or more comprehensive truth. Such moments reduce only until their limit, and these limits thereby show up in the Two in the last instance.
What I mean by this is that is is not wrong to have, what we could call, ’empirical’ appropriations; it is not incorrect to develop gestalt meanings, meaning where further meanings arrive, or are precipitated out from the collision of identities (empirical concepts, concepts that are attached necessarily to their objects in potential), such that we can have social causal meanings such as the case of ‘cultural hegemony’. It is not incorrect in some essential manner (as there may be some other appropriation) to come to have an analysis where the Bourgeoisie can assert power and control upon people through cultural mechanisms that bend linguistic idioms. Yet likewise — and this is the clincher, the statement that is always shut down, the idea that always offends — the idea of social control through hegemonic devices is itself a hedgemonic assertion.
It is in this type of move that we find the moment that defines the limit of the first moment, and that if we can begin to entertain the idea of failure, then we can begin to see how we might coordinate this initial moment with subsequence, which is to say, with the second moment of significance (we will get into that elsewhere, perhaps the upcoming book).
This is to say that philosophy and those disciplines by which philosophy is brought into service of the social (empirical) world to thus disavow and decline any notion that might absorb the social into its purview is contrary to the operative hegemony of that social omnipotence that I am calling ‘real’, that place where psychology asserts its dogmatic omnipresence upon empirically meaningful contradiction. (Reality, in this view, contains and accounts for what we typically know as subjective and objective situations in all their regular and theoretical presentations [the ‘watershed’ of ironic misunderstanding]).
It is here that we find an alternate cohesiveness, one that strings history into another movement that is always missed for the sake of social causality (again, this is not an argument to say that social causality is incorrect or wrong). This then explains not only Adorno’s need to explicate “negative” dialectics, but further explains why his also fails, which then explains where Francois Laruelle’s ‘non-philosophy’ finds purchase, even as Laruelle understands the failure of his predecessors by spelling out the problem in its, as yet, most clear and overt manner: To wit, that non-philosophy might be made into another philosophical object; and this is to say that what is ‘in the last instance’ for Laruelle, or ‘negative’ in Adorno’s, will be taken to move upon a rejection of contradiction instead of a consistency within it. It is not sufficient to reduce these authors into an empirical lineage of conceptual progress; it is more correct to align their proposals in a scheme of failure.
Gramsci should not be taken to thereby evidence some sort of movement from what he ‘actually meant’ into some ‘abstract’ appropriation, but should rather be understood within historical moments that, rather than negating each other in a hegemonic historical motion, move in a manner that explains what is occurring in the human experience more fully than the limits of social negotiation and the empirical ideological struggle for power. The most offensive and here the most explanatory way to move on this is to set the social aside unto its own motion, not as if we can step outside or get beyond the social, but to realize that what we may be understanding as social is itself a contradictory position. So it is we may understand Adorno’s ‘negative’ as a ‘motion of contradiction’ over a motion compelled by the rejection of contradiction. As I say, this situation can be called the ‘contradiction of non-contradiction’.