Sociology January 26, 2014
• Conflict and Critique: Marxism in the Interwar Period
1) Key Contributions of A. Gramsci
2) Key Contributions of The Frankfurt School:
T. Adorno, M. Horkheimer, and H. Marcuse
• Marxism in the Interwar Period
1920s & 1930s:
• 2 influential forces: 1) A. Gramsci and 2) Frankfurt School
A. Gramsci (18911937):
• Intellectual in the Italian Communist Party;
Central concept: hegemony:
• Form of domination in which the dominated consent to the rule of the leading
groups in society; willingly accept
• Capitalist societies: proletariat and subordinate classes consent to power of
• Hegemony as “common sense”: no alternative thoughts possible; most ppl
believe that capitalist market is the best way to deal with goods and services
• Effective hegemony keeps us from thinking outside the box – follow there
specific ways/ go along with general beliefs within society
• E.g. of Hegemony: Education. Ideas of appearance. Religion. Gender differences
– men are like this (do yard work and dirty work) and women are like that (cook/
• Argued that bourgeoise was a dominant class because they were aligned with a
group of individuals who were effective in convincing the rest of the population
to go along with what they had to say – Organic intellectuals
• Role of intellectuals in translating economic power into cultural and political
• “Organic intellectuals”: integrated/joined within the dominant class structure.
Main role is to help create the cultural conditions for the people to go along with
equality and accepting differences within society. Eg. Priests are organic
intellectuals. Taught about good Christian right and brought on people to believe
• Organic intellectuals Eg.: Media/ advertising. Law Enforcement. Politicians.
Scientist – allow individuals to become better in appearance (plastic surgery) so that
people can be happier with themselves.
• Organic intellectuals as they are mediators for dominant and subordinate groups.
Would say those who aren’t so well off will be over time. Direct society.
• A. Gramsci
• Organic vs. revolutionary intellectuals;
• “Historic bloc”: alliance of subordinate groups with shared interests;
• Revolution requires organized structure i.e. revolutionary communist party.
• If you are at bottom of society then you want to work your way up. Revolutionary
cannot be brought up unless there is an alliance. Group of ppl come together to
share visions of an ideal society. Direct society to be better. • Identify/ resist the hegemony of society. Allowing for contesting and over throw
the capitalists dominance
THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL
• Critical theorists affiliated with the Institute of Social Re