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Selections from the Prison Notebooks

By Antonio Gramsci

Originally published: 1971


Gramsci was one of the most important, original and influential marxist writers of the 20th Century.

He wrote extensively on the role of intellectuals, on education, history, politics, culture, the modern state and philosophy. The Prison Notebooks was written between 1929 and 1935, when Gramsci was a prisoner of the Italian fascist state under Mussolini. He developed the concept of ‘hegemony’, arguing that the ruling class sustained its control of society and the state through hegemonic domination of education, culture, sport, religion etc.

Working class revolution would therefore only succeed if the struggle was broadened from that in the work place to a broad based struggle involving the contestation of control and space in education, culture, sport, the community etc.

It is this work which outlines the strategies summed up by the commonly known phrase that Gramsci became well known for (although he never actually was quoted saying it). That the West could be taken down by capturing its cultural institutions, or as it famously became known as “the long march through the institutions”.


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