Gramsci was Italy’s answer to Bogdanov

Since the 1960s and 70s Marxian thinkers came to believe that it was Gramsci who developed the first systematic ideas and concepts, building on Marx and Lenin’s ideas, on the issues of ideology and culture, and developed a unique conceptualization of hegemony, as an integral part of a theory of state and civil society. The influential contributions based on Gramsci readings of Althusser, Laclau, and Mouffe, Miliband, Poulantzas, Anderson, Frankfurt School theorists, cultural studies of Stuart Hall, French post-structuralists have come to inform the most important debates on the state, classes, ideology, MNCs, social movements, new imperialism so on.

However, below quotation from the preface to the English translation of the first ever Marxian Political Economy study book, by Alexander Bogdanov, shows clearly, that 30-40 years prior to Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, there emerged the first-ever systematic study of ideology, culture, and social consciousness, both as an integral analysis or critique of the political economy, and as an independent study titled: The Science of Social Consciousness. Bogdanov’s conceptualization and the strategy of cultural hegemony and revolution clashed with Lenin’s concept and strategy of political hegemony and revolution. Anderson mistakenly identified that Lenin’s conceptualization and strategy, based on political dominance as the main influence on the ideas Gramsci later developed. However, it has become obvious since the 80s that Bogdanov’s work, which caused the notorious strategical rivalry with Lenin, actually was the main influence on Gramsci’s thought and

“The chapters on ideology in this and the other courses by no means serve as supplements to the main subject. Ideology is an instrument for organizing economic life an is consequently an important condition in economic development. Only within these limits and in this connection is it touched upon here. It is dealt with independently in a special textbook “The Science of Social Consciousness” which is written in a form similar to this.”

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