A (Liberal) Sheep in (Marxist) Wolf’s Clothing? Reassessing Antonio Gramsci’s Conceptualisation of Hegemony

  • Jonathan Pass Universidad Pablo de Olavide


Antonio Gramsci’s greatest contribution to Western political thought, arguably, is his conceptualisation of hegemony. Sadly, a widespread tendency to misinterpret the term as being analogous to ‘leadership based upon consent’, has reduced power to ideological control: an essentially liberal perspective. This paper aims to rectify this error, carrying out a more comprehensive analysis of Gramsci’s conceptualisation of hegemony as expounded in his Prison Notebooks, set against the backdrop of his own political/intellectual evolution. Hegemony, as a result, is shown to be compatible with Marxist theories of power, i.e. necessarily materially-rooted and underpinned by coercion.

Biografía del autor/a

Jonathan Pass, Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Licenciado en Contemporary European Studies por la London Metropolitan University. Doctor en Relaciones Internacionales por la Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Profesor Asociado del Área de Derecho Internacional Público y Relaciones Internacionales. Área de estudio: Teorías de Relaciones Internacionales, Perspectiva Neogramsciana, la politica exterior de los Estados Unidos, El significado del auge de China para el Orden Mundial, Transiciones hegemónicas


Althusser, L. & Balibar, E. (1970), Reading Capital, London: New Left Books.

Anderson, P. (1976), “The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci”, New Left Review I/100, November-December.

Archer, M.S. (1990), “Human Agency and Social Structure: A Critique of Giddens” in J. Clark, C Modgil and S.

Modgil (eds.): Anthony Giddens: Consensus and Controversy, Brighton: Falmer Press.

Archer, M. S. (1995), Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Bhaskar, R. (1975): A Realist Theory of Science, Leeds: Leeds Books.

Bhaskar, R. (1979), The Possibility of Naturalism, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Press.

Bhaskar, R. (1986), Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation, London: Verso.

Cammett, J. (1967), Antonio Gramsci and the Origins of Italian Communism, Stanford:Stanford University Press.

Clark, M. (1978), Antonio Gramsci and the Revolution that Failed, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Fiori, G. (1970), Antonio Gramsci: Life of Revolutionary, London: New Left Books.

Fernández Buey, F. (2001), Leyendo a Gramsci, Barcelona: El Viejo Topo.

Gramsci, A. (1971), Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, ed. and trans. by Q. Hoare & G. Nowell Smith, London: Lawrence & Wishart.

Gramsci, A. (1975), History, Philosophy and Culture in the Young Gramsci, edited by Cavalcanti, P. & Piccone, P. Saint Louis: Telos Press.

Gramsci, A. (1977), “The Revolution Against ‘Capital’”, Selections from Political Writings, 1910-1920, London: Lawrence & Wishart.

Gramsci, A. (1978), Selections from Political Writings, 1921-1926, ed. and trans. Q.Hoare, Lawrence & Wishart, London.

Gramsci, A. (1994), Pre-Prison Writings, ed. R. Bellamy, trans. V. Cox, Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

Gramsci, A (1995), Further Selections from the Prison Notebooks, ed. and trans. D.Boothman. London: Lawrence & Wishart

Gramsci, A. (2007), Quaderni del Calcere: Quaderni di traduzioni (1929-1932), ed. G. Cospito & G. Francioni, Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana.

Gramsci, A. (2006), “Speech to the Italian Parliament”, 16th May 1925, trans. by M. Carley, http://www.marxists.org/archive/gramsci/1925/05/speech.htm

Gramsci, A. (2013), Prison Notebooks (Volumes I-III), trans. by Joseph Buttigieg, Slp Edition, Columbia University Press.

Lenin, V. (1982), Collected Works, Volume 31, Moscow. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/cw/

Lyttelton, A. (1983), The Seizure of Power: Fascism in Italy 1919-1929, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholas.

Machiavelli, N. (1981), The Prince, London: Penguin Classics.

Marx, K. (1999), Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Online version. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/

Marx, K. (2008): Capital: Critique of Political Economy, “Book 1: The Process of Production of Capital, Online version. http://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/marx/works/download/Marx_Capital_Vol_1

Marx, K & Engels, F. (1990).: Marx & Engels Collected Works, Vol. 27, London: Lawrence & Wishart.

Marx, K & Engels, F. (2002), “Theses on Feuerbach”, Selected Works, Vol.1. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm

Pozzolini, A. (1970): Antonio Gramsci: An Introduction to His Thought, London: Pluto Press.

Thomas, P.D. (2010): The Gramscian Moment: Philosophy, Hegemony and Marxism, Chicago: Haymarket Books, Chicago.

Cómo citar
Pass, J. (2019). A (Liberal) Sheep in (Marxist) Wolf’s Clothing? Reassessing Antonio Gramsci’s Conceptualisation of Hegemony. Daimon Revista Internacional De Filosofia, (77), 73-88. https://doi.org/10.6018/daimon/292591