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In this article I explore the relatively neglected usage of conceptions of balance and equilibrium in Antonio Gramsci's theory of hegemony by adopting a contextual approach to his writings that situates them in an intellectual and historical milieu in which the quest for 'equilibrium' had become one of the most important issues of the day. In the first part of the article I show how ideas of balance and equilibrium were developing among sources familiar to Gramsci, including Italian Fordism, the theorists of the Russian Revolution and neo-classical economics. The second part demonstrates how Gramsci developed these ideas within the framework of his theory of hegemony. My aim is not only to provide a new perspective on Gramsci’s hegemony, but also to suggest that incorporating notions of balance and equilibrium into the theory will render it more coherent and realistic for its contemporary deployment in political and ideological analysis.
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Keywords: Alfred Marshall; Bukharin; Fordism; Gramsci; Maffeo Pantaleoni; Marxism; Piero Sraffa; Taylorism; Trotsky; active consent; balance; compromise; dynamic equilibrium; equilibrium; hegemony; ideology; neo-classical economics; organic intellectuals; organization; relation of forces

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Government, University of Essex, Colchester, CO4 3SQ., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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