Study Guide

Antonio Gramsci - Italian Stallions Who Are Also Cultural Theorists

Italian Stallions Who Are Also Cultural Theorists

These men, with Gramsci as their fearless leader, make theory muscular. That's right: theory is their GTL, and they're on fire.

Antonio Negri

Author, with Michael Hardt, of the game-changing Empire, Negri is also a hard-hitting Marxist—and like our friend the other Antonio, he spent some time in prison for political reasons. They couldn't keep him down, though; he's also a true Gramscian in that his work combines concrete social and historical reflection with philosophical speculation.

Giorgio Agamben

This dark horse made waves stateside with his Homo Sacer. This book's grim diagnosis of contemporary politics spoke to many in the wake of September 11 and in the light of the War on Terror.

Agamben may not look like much of a Gramscian. To be sure, he's no traditional Marxist at all. But Agamben's thought is indebted to Gramsci, all the same—for instance, like Gramsci, Agamben recruits philosophy to address the most pressing political concerns of the present. Another unstoppable Italian.

Roberto Esposito

Esposito is a more recent member of the fashionable theory in-group. He puts a more positive spin on some of the same questions that Agamben addresses: questions about the relationships between politics and life, and between philosophy and lived experience.

His history of Italian philosophy is of particular interest, since—not surprisingly—it gives Gramsci pride of place.

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