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Beo-Gramscian Approaches and Marxist Thinking on International Relations - Essay Example

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Beo-Gramscian Approaches and Marxist Thinking on International Relations

Gramsci who was a leader of Italian Communist party in the fascist era did not ever write much directly on international relations. Gramaci did not see state merely as the government since its functioning is effectively constrained by the hegemony of the dominant capitalist class. Along with the government, he saw the role of "the church, the educational system, the press, all the institutions which helped to create in people certain modes of behaviour and expectations consistent with the hegemonic social order" (Cox, 1993, p.51). In brief, he clearly saw that "the hegemony of a dominant class thus bridged the conventional categories of state and civil society, categories which retained a certain analytical usefulness but ceased to correspond to separable entities in reality" (Cox, 1993, p.51). Gramsci's delineation of the concept 'passive revolution' is particularly useful in characterising the social formations in most of the third world countries since they are "caught up in a dialectic of revolution-restoration which tended to become blocked as neither the new forces nor the old could triumph" (Cox, 1993, p.54). It means that since there is enormous pressure from the advance countries, the third world countries cannot remain stagnant although these societies are characterised by the dominance of old forces such as feudal and conservative forces. The crucial fact is that the industrial bourgeoisie in these countries cannot rule the society without allying with the reactionary forces.
"Most of Gramsci's substantive work focused upon the analysis of national social formations in particular historic periods, particularly Italy" (Gill, 1993, p.3). Gramsci is significant in breaking the mould of orthodoxy in both Marxist theory and practice. Gramsci's ideas are so vital to develop a comprehensive understanding of the state- civil society relationships only in the West but also the rest of the world. Gramsci considered political economy as just the anatomy of civil society. Gramsci's works raise a number of critical questions on the nature of culture, the state, ideology, hegemony and civil society in advanced capitalist societies. It does not mean that his ideas have limited relevance to the non-Western contexts, rather denotes the particular milieu of his scholarship.
In the realm of International Relations and International Political Economy, Gramsci's ideas are much used in understanding "the internationalisation of state and civil society, the international aspects of social hegemony and supremacy, and the transnational class and bloc formations and economic forces, the role of organic intellectuals and of international organisations and other issues which help to define the nature of global politics in twentieth century" (Gill, 1993, p.4). There is dialectical relationship between the integration and disintegration of the world order, mainly due to the crises faces by the global system and the measures taken to overcome them. On the contrary, neo-realists presuppose that the international ...Show more
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Besides realism and liberalism, radicalism is considered as "the third overarching theoretical perspective to international relation" (Mingst, 2005, p.71). However, radicalism is not a homogeneous perspective, it is an umbrella term to denote a number of perspectives which have significantly different world views while sharing some central tenets of Marxism…
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