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Interlocutions with Passive Revolution

by Adam David Morton on June 8, 2015

Organised by Elizabeth Humphrys, Ihab Shalbak, Philip Roberts and Richard Parkin, the graduate workshop, ‘On “Heroic Fury” and Questions of Method in Antonio Gramsci’ (University of Sydney, 29 May 2015), brought together scholars from the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales, the University of New England, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Tasmania working with Gramsci’s writings to collaborate, exchange ideas, establish wider networks, critically engage, and develop their research for publication.

The audio recording of my plenary, entitled ‘Interlocutions with Passive Revolution’, is available below. The second plenary by Peter Thomas (Brunel University), entitled ‘We Good Subalterns: Antonio Gramsci’s Theory of Political Modernity’ is available HERE.

What does it mean to interlocute with Antonio Gramsci on his theorising of state formation and capitalist modernity through the notion of passive revolution? In addressing this question, this plenary paper sets out not only to interlocute with Gramsci on the condition and concept of passive revolution but also to interlocute with Gramsci’s own interlocuters on the central concerns that passive revolution addresses. Through an engagement with Marx, Trotsky, Lefebvre and Gramsci the master themes of passive revolution are revealed. These include a focus on the internalisation of social property relations; the state; space; and uneven development as constitutive of the very fabric of capitalist modernity. Theorising these internalisations as characteristic of passive revolution firmly places Antonio Gramsci within a stream of classic social theory and its consideration of capitalist modernity. As a result, by building on cognate theorising elsewhere, passive revolution can then be established as a cardinal lateral field of causality that necessarily grasps spatio-temporal dynamics linked to both state and subaltern class practices of transformation in social property relations within the conditions of uneven and combined development.

Adam David Morton
Adam David Morton is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He is author of Unravelling Gramsci: Hegemony and Passive Revolution in the Global Political Economy (2007); Revolution and State in Modern Mexico: The Political Economy of Uneven Development (2011), recipient of the 2012 Book Prize of the British International Studies Association (BISA) International Political Economy Group (IPEG); and co-author of Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis (2018) with Andreas Bieler. He co-edits Progress in Political Economy (PPE) with Gareth Bryant that was the recipient of the 2017 International Studies Association (ISA) Online Media Caucus Award for the Best Blog (Group) and the 2018 International Studies Association (ISA) Online Media Caucus Award for Special Achievement in International Studies Online Media.

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