Journal of Romance Studies

Gramsci and Gobetti: a case of elective affinity

Journal of Romance Studies (2012), 12, (3), 78–89.

Abstract

The focus of this article is the association between Gramsci and the radical liberal, Piero Gobetti (1901–1926). Although little known outside Italy, Gobetti was a regular, if marginal, presence in Gramsci’s circle of associations in Turin. His idiosyncratic doctrine of ‘revolutionary liberalism’ owed much to Gramsci’s Factory Council theory and, later, Gramsci himself identified Gobetti as the type of radicalized intellectual the Communist Party ought to engage in its struggle for hegemony. In the Prison Notebooks, too, Gobetti’s novel interpretation of Italy’s post-war crisis received several references and shared much with Gramsci’s own. Yet, despite their mutual admiration and appropriation, the connection between the two can be understood in terms of an ‘elective affinity’, that is, an association based on selected compatibilities. This term might well serve as a clue to the affinities we find with Gramsci’s work today.

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Martin, James