Putting Capitalist Economies in their Place
12. Gramsci as a proto- and post-regulation theorist This chapter identiﬁes important parallels between Antonio Gramsci’s philosophy of praxis and the regulation approach. Gramsci (1891–1936) was an Italian Communist who made major contributions to Marxist theory and political practice in the last century. He is often said, wrongly in our opinion, to have originated the concept of Fordism and, correctly in our opinion, to have inspired ﬁrst-generation regulationists (for example, Aglietta 1979; Boyer 1990a). This reﬂects the fact that, while he was unavoidably interested in Russia and the Soviet Union, his ideas were ﬁrmly rooted in the historical development and current affairs of Italy and, more broadly, in Europe, the USA and the wider international system. Many observers illustrate this from his views on politics, civil society, culture, intellectuals, political parties and revolutionary strategy. However, we will explore his views on critical political economy, modes of production, economic laws and what is nowadays termed the social embedding of the economy. We aim to show that Gramsci can be read both as a proto- and a post-regulationist, that is, as someone who prepared some of the intellectual ground for regulationist analyses and as someone whose work indicates the need to move beyond the RA towards what we call ‘cultural political economy’. This may seem surprising given the usual state-theoretical and/or culturalist readings of his work. Gramsci is often interpreted as seeking to develop an autonomous Marxist science of politics appropriate for capitalist societies with a view to establishing...
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