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Presentation on theme: "IR2002 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS"— Presentation transcript:

Neo-Gramscian Theory

2 Antonio Gramsci ( Founder of the Communist Party of Italy (1921) Elected to the Italian Parliament (1924) Imprisoned by Mussolini’s Fascist Government in 1926 Principal work: Quaderni de Carcere—Prison Notebooks ( )

3 Intellectual Roots Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Karl Marx ( )

4 Philosophy Radical social ontology—an ontology of praxis, an understanding of social reality as the conscious creation of human history

5 Philosophy (Continued
Gramsci: Reality is a product of the application of human will to the society of things, and this process of producing reality entails the historical transformation of human beings and their social lives.


7 Conventional Marxist Model

8 Major Elements of Gramscian Theory
Critique of Economic Determinism Concept of Hegemony Theory of Hegemony

9 Critique of Economic Determinism
Significance of culture and social consciousness Background: Success of revolution in the East (Russia), failure in the West Implicit critique of false consciousness thesis

10 Concept of Hegemony Distinction between mainstream and Gramscian understandings of hegemony Mainstream: power as capability or power as a relation

11 Gramscian Concept of Power
Dual nature of power Centaur: half-man, half-beast Coercion and Consent (capability and moral leadership)

12 Gramscian Theory of Hegemony
Distinction between Dominance and Hegemony Political society/Civil society nexus

13 Theory of Hegemony (Continued
Significance of Civil Society Institutions of Civil society Moral education

14 SUMMARY Expanded notion of power Significance of cultural hegemony
Civil society/State nexus

15 Neo-Gramscian Theory Key Figure: Robert W. Cox
Principal Elements Nature of Theory: Theory is always for someone and for some purpose. Two distinct purposes of theory: (a) to be guide to help solve the problem posed within a particular perspective; and (b) reflecting upon the process of theorising itself.

16 Two Kinds of Theory Problem-solving Theory
Takes the world as it finds it Make relationships and institutions work smoothly Ceteris paribus assumption Fixed reality Assumption of value neutrality

17 Two Kinds of Theory (Continued)
Critical Theory Stands apart from the prevailing order Asks how that order came about Questions the ceteris paribus assumption Changing reality Value commitment

18 Distinction Mainstream IR Stable world
Study of inter-relationships among states in which nation-states are the principal aggregations of political power War and peace

19 Distinction (Continued)
Critical IR Change in IR Different kinds of states and non-state entities Multiplicity of goals Greater complexity

20 Frameworks of Action Historical Structures

21 Three Spheres of Activity
1. Organisation of Production (Social forces engendered by the production process). 2. Forms of state (Derived from different state/society complexes). 3. World Orders (Particular configurations of forces)

22 Social Forces Material Capabilities Ideas Institutions

23 Material Capabilities
Technological and organisational capabilities, natural resources, stocks of equipment (industries and armaments), and wealth

24 Ideas Two Kinds: (1) inter-subjective meanings: shared notions of the nature of social relations which influence habits and expectations of behaviour

25 Ideas (2) Collective images of social order held by different groups of people (nature of power relations, meanings of justice and public good)

26 Institutions Reflect the power relations at any given time. Institutionalisation is a process of stabilising a particular order.

27 Institutions Close connection between institutionalisation and hegemony: Institutions provide ways of dealing with conflicts so as to minimise the use of force).

28 Institutions Hegemonic strategy: to allow representation of diverse interests


30 Two Key Questions What are the mechanisms for maintaining hegemony in this particular historical structure? What social forces and/or forms of state have been generated within it which could oppose and ultimately bring about a transformation of the structure?

31 Three Developments Internationalisation of the state.
Internationalisation of production. Emergence of a transnational managerial class.

32 Three Possible Scenarios
New Hegemony Non-hegemonic order Counter-hegemony

33 Robert W. Cox Key Text: Production, Power and World Order: Social Forces in the Making of History (1987)


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