Nicholson, Jenifer Margaret
The role of educative thought in the life and work of Antonio Gramsci
University of Southampton, School of Education,
Many philosophers have propounded a vision of an improved society, what distinguishes Antonio Gramsci is his continuous effort to make it happen by understanding the process in order to put into practice. Gramsci's conviction about the importance of educative development came from both theory and experience. While there has been considerable examination of Gramsci's work in relation to the Prison Notebooks, this study will seek to address a lacuna in Gramsci scholarship. Using Gramsci's philological method, I analyse Gramsci's pre-prison activity; his pre-prison articles and letters, which, together with his letters from prison, formed part of his educative mission. This educative process was necessary, in order to construct a new party which would develop a collective will, collaboratively, with the masses.
In this study therefore, I explore the contexts and formative experiences of the first part of his life together with the intellectual sources from which Gramsci developed his later theories, making central hitherto underemphasised connections between them which informed his writing and ideas. I intend to illustrate that Gramsci's underlying purpose in his writing, and political activity, was not only practical, on how to create a new socialist ruling class, but also educative in forming the mindset and values of his comrades. So that in addition to outlining his vision of a new order, he implicitly guided or explicitly explained the processes by which the necessary changes in social relations and moral climate could be made in order to achieve it. Each person had to engage with the values of the new order so that each could contribute to the construction of a new robust state. It was essential to build a hegemony at the most profound level, one which was dependent on collective understandings and a collective will.
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