Gramsci, Theory, and Modernity: A Historical Analysis of Antonio Gramsci's Conception of Race, Sex, Culture, and Politics
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The goal of this dissertation is to investigate the impact that historical (and cultural) contexts have on the production of theories and concepts. In specific, I am interested in the relationship between historical and cultural contexts and the production of theoretical knowledge. I define historical periods in theory as modernist and an "after-modern" context, which comprises poststructuralism, postmodernism and post-Marxism. My case is the life and work of Antonio Gramsci; a "classical theorist" whose work remains salient across the social sciences and humanities. I hypothesize that in order to understand the historiography of knowledge in the social sciences, from the classical period to the present, significant points of "departure" in theory (e.g. Gramsci, Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism) need to be viewed contextually. By extension, a better way to fully understand Gramsci's insights, and their endurance, for the study of race, sexuality, culture and politics is to situate his methodology, theories, and concepts historically. In the dissertation propose two ways to test this hypothesis: 1. I provide an historically grounded interpretation of Gramsci's political thinking (a orienting place for much of Gramsci's thought) which includes, for example, changes in his perspective about the strategic role of specific political groups, e.g. social movement organizations, in achieving political goals; 2. I embed his theoretical and conceptual framework within the theoretical discourses prevalent during his time, which would include, for example, the rise and predominance of Italian positivist criminology as a racial discourse. I also hypothesize that in this case, such an interpretation is necessary to fully and accurately understand the potential contribution of Gramsci's theoretical framework to contemporary theoretical discourses in both the social sciences and humanities-based disciplines. This dissertation is organized around the following sets of questions. My originating question, which establishes the analytical framework for the dissertation, is: What impact does historical (and cultural) contexts have on the production of theories and concepts? As it pertains to my specific case, the life and work of Antonio Gramsci, I sharpen the point by asking: In the context of the originating research question, In what ways have the historical (and cultural) contexts effected the production of theories and concepts in Gramsci's work? This dissertation represents a contribution to the sociology of ideas as well as to classical theory by providing a new lens through which to look at the early contributions of sociological knowledge. Further, each individual section?which represents explorations of specific theoretical rubrics?may lead to contributions within these distinct areas.
Carley, Robert (2012). Gramsci, Theory, and Modernity: A Historical Analysis of Antonio Gramsci's Conception of Race, Sex, Culture, and Politics. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from