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The Cultural and Communicative Dynamics of Capital: Gramsci and the Impetus for Social Action

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Abstract:

Consumer capitalism has the perfunctory, if not proverbial, explanation that if only people work hard enough will they obtain what they deserve. For Gramsci, and others, this condition isn't about who is working ‘hard enough’, but rather ‘who is working’ (and what type of work!)? The fundamental problem with our class consciousness is that it is skewed: Culturally we believe that some people are more deserving than others. What does this have to do with social change? When we consider that global, consumer capitalism engulfs our everyday lives, we must be attune to its everyday impact and influence on our subjectivity. Relatedly, we should consider everyday ‘pockets of resistance’ – such as the surgical cleaner or the coffee house frequenter – who can contribute to what Gramsci refers to as the ‘war of position’ so that a more dedicated, organised, and significant cultural entity can develop and have power – known as the ‘war of maneuver’. In other words, Gramsci's ‘war of position’ might best be served by educators and everyday citizens who suggest that what we have could be better – a (re)framing of ‘common sense’, in Gramscian terms, into ‘good sense’. This paper will address not only the problem of how global capitalism is articulated into everyday discourse, but also how the common, cultural fabric of American life can attempt to combat it. While no universal struggle perhaps exists, currently, to tackle global capital, this paper will discuss how pockets of social movement resistance can collaborate to form a more unified ‘war of maneuver’ against the global, corporate hegemony of our times.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14735784.2012.721628

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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