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Culture Wars: Gramsci and Toqueville


Gail Rekers

on 21 July 2010

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Transcript of Culture Wars: Gramsci and Toqueville

Culture Wars
Gramsci and Toqueville
Antonio Gramsci, 1891 - 1937
An intense world view struggle
Marxist-Hegelian: an original thinker.
Understood cultural hegemony as the means
of maintaining the state in a capitalist society
Cultural hegemony represents not only political and economic control but also the ability of the dominant class to project its own way of seeing the world so that those who are subordinated by it accept it as 'common sense' and 'natural'.
Popular culture is the site of constant struggle between
the mainstream ideology and the social experience
of subordinate groups.
Marginalized groups are:
Economically oppressed
The marginalized
groups lack:
Consciousness of their own oppression
Without unity and knowledge they cannot resist the privileged classes
Gramsci's Goal:
To shift power from the privileged to the marginalized
Gramsci was an historicist:
Morals, truths and values
are products of different historical
epochs. They change as history
Shifting Power
The personal is political
Social Justice movement
Liberation Theology
Jury Nullification
Diversity Education
Non-profit foundations' support of minority endeavors
Alexis de Tocqueville
Wrote "Democracy in America":
a celebration of American Exceptionalism
Tocqueville described the "American Creed" as:
Religious faith: builds character and moral standards to contain the egoism of the individual.
A level playing field
Dynamic entrepreneurialism
Extreme patriotism
Emphasis on personal responsibility and faith
No hierarchies, no monarchies
Racial Minorities
Some political prisoners
Self Government
and the freedom to
pursue one's own goals
No interference by government
Rediscover our Judeo-Christian values
and their absolute moral truths.
Tocquevillians want cultural renewal in order to:
Education that transmits the American Creed
Tocquevillians are against:
"Welfare state"
Interference with business in any way
whether by science
or government regulation;
Hate crime laws and civil rights laws
because they make some groups "special"
Extreme capitalism
Faith-based initiatives
Self reliance
Tocquevillians favor:
Reduced worker protections
Deregulation of financial markets
Privitization of social security
Reduction of environmental protections
No special protection for wild animals.
Followers of Gramsci favor:
Women's rights
Protection of minority group's civil rights
Environmental protection
Hate crimes bills
Regulation of financial markets
Protection and care for
the weak: children and elderly
Gramscians say: These measures are necessary because the powerful tend to favor themselves first
the federal government strong

Marx: Society is divided between
workers and owners/capitalists
And workers will rebel and overthrow
the owner/capitalist oppressors
Hegel: The world consists of
pairs of this/not-this
Full transcript