Antonio Gramsci can be regarded as one of the most significant Marxists of the twentieth century who merits inclusion in any register of classical social theorists. Reading Gramsci, however, is no easy task. Not only does he plunge into the complexities of his contemporary debates that are now obscure to many readers, and engage in an enormous range of topics that at first seem unrelated, but the prison conditions and his own method yield a set of open-ended, fragmented and intricately layered Prison Notebooks whose connections and argumentation do not lead linearly to the next note, but seem to ripple and weave in many directions. This complexity has sometimes led to an aggravation on the part of Gramsci scholars when they see how often his name is invoked by those with quite partial or superficial understanding of his arguments. It has also generated frustration on the part of those who want to use Gramsci’s ideas to illuminate their own studies, analysis, and political acumen.
The books in the series recognise the necessity of deploying an openness in reading Gramsci to capture the multiple branching out of his thought and a practical interest in understanding the here and now of contemporary events. Expert analyses of features of Gramsci’s work will be provided that will offer serious engagement with Gramsci’s own writings combined with a focus on historical and contemporary analysis in order to try and understand, grapple with, and change our current predicaments. Rather than ‘applying’ Gramsci the point of the series is to provide monographs that think through and internalise Gramsci’s method of thinking about alternative historical and contemporary social conditions. Given that no single study can encapsulate the above political and intellectual depth and breadth, each volume in the Reading Gramsci series is focused in such a way as to open readers to specific aspects of his work as well as raise new questions about our contemporary history.
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