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By Andrea Righi (auth.)

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Additional info for Biopolitics and Social Change in Italy: From Gramsci to Pasolini to Negri

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55 In other words, with the denial of any externality to the selfpositing activity of the subject, reality becomes a spiritual entity as it is actualized in the present, in a lived act of the subject. The result is often an authoritarian crystallization of power relations or worse, as in fascism, the justification for a reactionary violence; for the subject, unaware of its own mediations, enjoys the illusion of unrestrained power. The actualist subject swallows everything: it smashes the deterministic view of positivism, but it also looses a dialectical relation with reality thus paying a high price.

95 In so far as it pursues women’s desire against the oppressive patriarchal definition of their reproductive role, Gramsci’s call is definitely protofeminist. Similarly, in criticizing the reduction of the female subject to nature (“flesh and blood convulsion”), Gramsci does away with the erasure of female subjectivity that permeates patriarchal thought. However in terms of the understanding of women’s actual freedom, one might catch here a whiff of familism. When Gramsci proceeds to give his proletarian counterexample, he recalls: I know two proletarian women who understand it [Nora’s drama], because they have never needed divorce or the law to achieve self-awareness or create a world where they are better understood and more human.

The problem is thinking through Fordism and seeing, at the end of it, the light of a liberated society. To the best of his knowledge and given the restrictions of imprisonment, Gramsci followed a strict materialist methodology where, as I said, theory was synonymous with immanence. Thus he proceeded to scrutinize and chart the ways in which the new productive forces repress, discipline, but also animate the whole of the social body. For us the difficulty here lies in separating Gramsci’s conception from the solution of the problem of productivity and societal organization as prescribed by his opponents.

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