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Call for Papers – Antonio Gramsci: Violence, Coercion and Resistance

by Chris Hesketh on December 31, 2014

Call for Papers — Antonio Gramsci: Violence, Coercion and Resistance (Five Panels)

Call for papers for the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, 23–26 September 2015, Giardini Naxos, Italy.

Antonio Gramsci’s writings offer a rich source of material for thinking both empirically and theoretically about the role that violence has played, is playing, and might play in the future within political societies. In popular interpretations of Gramsci, his celebrated notion of hegemony is often equated with a politics of consent, tending to facilitate more liberal understandings of his work. However, this is to ignore or downplay his wider formulation of the state, conceived as “hegemony protected by the armour of coercion.” Gramsci was insistent that while moral and spiritual leadership were integral aspects of power, another crucial facet of its exercise was the physical domination of antagonistic groups which are often subjugated by physical force. Gramsci was also prone to deploy military metaphors when thinking about questions of political transformation, most notably in his key terms ‘war of manoeuvre’ and ‘war of position’.  The latter term has now tended to be emphasised purely as a form of cultural struggle. However, it should not be forgotten that Gramsci also stressed that “every political struggle… always has a military substratum.” Violence, for Gramsci therefore co-exists and sits in dialectic tension with a politics of consent.

This prompts a variety of issues for reflection: to what extent does neo-liberalism remain reliant upon violence and coercion to main itself (both in the capitalist heartlands as well as in more peripheral nations)? How has the turn to a politics of austerity affected questions of violence/coercion? Does violence have a legitimate role in movements seeking to challenge capitalism? Indeed, are Gramsci’s thoughts on violence/exclusion still relevant for thinking about the political?

Suggested themes for panels:

  • Austerity: consent or structural violence?
  • Resistance and the role of violence
  • Violence, war, and the historical sociology of state formation

The final deadline for panel, roundtable and paper submissions is midnight (CET) 15th January 2015. All submissions must be inputted directly through the Conference’s online submission site at:

Please contact Dr Chris Hesketh (Oxford Brookes University) for further details at:

Chris Hesketh
Chris Hesketh is Programme Lead for Politics, International Relations and Sociology at Oxford Brookes. He received his BA, MA and PhD all from the University of Nottingham. Before joining Oxford Brookes in 2012 he taught at the University of Nottingham and at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has an inter-disciplinary research agenda that combines political economy, the historical sociology of international relations, political geography, political theory and Latin American studies. These interests are captured in his monograph, Spaces of Capital / Spaces of Resistance: Mexico and the Global Political Economy (University of Georgia Press, 2017 in the Geographies of Justice Social and Transformation Series).
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